Changes in mean concentration, phase shifts, and dissipation in a forced oscillatory reaction

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Science  12 Jan 1990:
Vol. 247, Issue 4939, pp. 189-192
DOI: 10.1126/science.2294601


Experiments are presented that confirm earlier predictions that the mode of supply of reactants to a nonlinear (bio)chemical reaction determines or controls concentrations at steady states far from equilibrium. The oxidation of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) catalyzed by the enzyme horseradish peroxidase with continuous input of oxygen was studied; NAD+ is continuously recycled to NADH through a glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase system. A comparison of steady-state concentrations is made with an oscillatory oxygen input and a constant input at the same average oxygen input for both modes. By varying the frequency and amplitude of the perturbation (O2 influx), the following may be changed: the average concentration of NADH; the Gibbs free energy difference delta G of the reactants and products at steady state; the average rate of the reaction; the phase relation between the oscillatory rate and delta G; and the dissipation. These results confirm the possibility of an "alternating current chemistry," of control and optimization of thermodynamic efficiency and dissipation by means of external variation of constraints in classes of nonlinear reactions and biological pumps, and of improvements of the yield in such reactions (heterogeneous catalysis, for example).