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A new insight has been gained through research in physiologic chemistry in the conception of the catalytic nature of intracellular ferments. By a contact substance chemists understand a substance which, by virtue of its presence (and without itself, or in the form of derivatives, appearing in the end-products of reactions), either initiates chemical reactions which otherwise would not occur (chemical "inoculation" or "infection") or accelerates or retards the speed of spontaneous reactions (catalysis). Thus in inorganic chemistry, as everyone remembers, the mixture of manganese dioxid with potassium chlorate accelerates the rate of oxygen liberation and the presence of platinum quickens the burning of hydrogen gas in oxygen at relatively low temperatures. In organic chemistry, ferrous sulphate, by its presence, hastens the oxidation of glycerin by hydrogen peroxid. These are samples of catalysis. It seems probable that for every chemical reaction substances exist which alter its speed. The search for these
INTRACELLULAR FERMENTS AS CATALYZERS. JAMA. 1905;XLV(7):466. doi:10.1001/jama.1905.02510070034005
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