Unity and Diversity in Biochemistry: An Introduction to Chemical Biology

By Marcel Florkin; T. Wood | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
DEPARTURE FROM THE BIOSPHERE

THE earth and the surface waters are the natural tombs of plants and animals. In these regions of the lithosphere and hydrosphere, the materials of the biosphere return to the inorganic world: the nitrogen of proteins becomes ammonia and nitrate, carbon is oxidized to carbonates and the other elements return to their inorganic forms. Elsewhere, too, living organisms are returning these elements by a continual rendering of respiratory carbon dioxide and metabolic excreta. The excreta and corpses are mineralized in the soil and in water by the action of micro-organisms. The latter, likewise, autolyse when unfavourable conditions interrupt their multiplication.

Particularly important are the processes by which nitrogen and carbon leave the biosphere to re-enter the inorganic world.


I. AMMONIFICATION IN THE SOIL

The dead bodies and excreta of living beings are attacked in the ground by the exoenzymes of many bacteria. For example, the exoenzymes of many Clostridia attack this dead matter and the proteins are converted to amino acids. Many bacteria release ammonia from these amino acids. The most active ammonifying organisms are Bacillus mycoides, Proteus vulgaris and various actinomycetes. Quantitatively the most important process is oxidative deamination (p. 210).

The bacteria of the soil can also accomplish a deamination by the removal of ammonia to produce a double bond

R--CH2--CHNH2--COOH → R--CH = CH--COOH + NH3

In this way bacteria of the coli-typhosum group can convert histidine to urocanic acid.

Histidine Urocanic acid

-366-

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Unity and Diversity in Biochemistry: An Introduction to Chemical Biology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Abbreviations vii
  • Translator's Preface ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Part One xv
  • Chapter I - The Biosphere 1
  • Chapter II - Constituents of the Biosphere 7
  • References 14
  • References 24
  • References 30
  • References 37
  • References 43
  • References 56
  • Chapter III - Modes of Linkage by Covalent Bonds 57
  • References 60
  • References 62
  • References 77
  • References 82
  • Chapter IV - Macromolecules 83
  • References 85
  • References 93
  • References 107
  • References 111
  • Part Two - Enzymes and Biochemical Energetics 129
  • Chapter I - General Principles of Biochemical Energetics 131
  • References 150
  • Chapter II - Enzymes 151
  • References 176
  • Part Three - Chemical Reactions in the Biosphere 177
  • Introduction 179
  • Chapter I - Destructive and Non-Destructive Methods in Modern Biochemistry 181
  • References 182
  • References 184
  • References 185
  • Chapter II - Priming Reactions 186
  • References 197
  • References 199
  • References 207
  • References 209
  • References 223
  • Chapter III - Biosyntheses 229
  • Part Four - Topobiochemistry and Cellular Regulation 271
  • Chapter I - Cellular Topochemistry 273
  • Conclusions 280
  • References 280
  • Chapter II - Cellular Regulation 282
  • References 286
  • Part Five - Biochemical Diversity 287
  • Chapter I - Some Aspects of Biochemical Diversity 289
  • References 303
  • Chapter II - The Inheritance of Biochemical Characteristics 304
  • References 316
  • Chapter III - Biochemistry and Taxonomy 317
  • References 332
  • Chapter IV - Biochemical Evolution 333
  • References 335
  • References 345
  • Part Six - The Metabolism of the Biosphere 347
  • Introduction 349
  • Chapter I - Entry into the Biosphere 351
  • References 365
  • Chapter II - Departure from the Biosphere 366
  • References 370
  • Chapter III - The Cycles 371
  • References 380
  • Index 381
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