Australian Journal of Chemistry Australian Journal of Chemistry Society
An international journal for chemical science
RESEARCH FRONT

Rapid Reaction Kinetics: Lessons Learnt from Ion Pumps

Ronald J. Clarke

School of Chemistry, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia. Email: r.clarke@chem.usyd.edu.au

Australian Journal of Chemistry 64(1) 5-8 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/CH10271
Submitted: 19 July 2010  Accepted: 21 October 2010   Published: 14 January 2011

Abstract

Chemical kinetics underwent a revolution in the 1950–60s with the development by Manfred Eigen of relaxation kinetic techniques and theory for the analysis of the results obtained. The techniques he introduced extended the time scale of measurable reactions into the microsecond range and beyond. Since then, computing power has increased astronomically. Some of the approximations traditionally used in the analysis of relaxation kinetic data to reduce mathematical complexity are, therefore, now no longer a necessity. Numerical integration of coupled series of differential rate equations can be performed in seconds or less on desk-top computers. In research on the mechanism of the Na+,K+-ATPase, it has been found that traditional approaches to relaxation kinetic data can sometimes lead to erroneous conclusions or to an incomplete description of the mechanism. Therefore, one needs to be flexible in one’s approach to kinetic data analysis and carefully consider the validity of any approximations used.


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