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July 1, 1950

Heavy Metal Prosthetic Groups and Enzyme Action

JAMA. 1950;143(9):854. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02910440072045

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Recent experiments by Warburg in collaboration with B. S. Hendricks and Dean Burk of the National Cancer Institute were conducted on the maximum quantum efficiency of photosynthetic processes which have been disputed since the middle 1930's. These latest experiments, unfortunately, are not included in the last chapter of Warburg's book, which does not deal with heavy metals but with the quantum requirement of carbon dioxide assimilation using chlorella.

This, however, need not deter the biochemist from reading the book. The masterly handling of the chapters dealing with the heavy metal prosthetic groups reveals the author's long-continued interest in the studies of cell respiration. The subject of biologic oxidation is developed historically. Starting with the experiments of Edmund Davy in 1820 on the oxidizing action of platinum, the author gives a critical appraisal of the investigations which led to the examination of the oxygen transporting action of iron in model systems.

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