Biology as Poetry: Chemistry

Bacteriophage Ecology Group

Energy in Bonds

Trapping of a capacity to perform work within electrons shared between atoms.

Exergonic reactions involve a releasing of the energy otherwise "trapped" within chemical bonds. Here the electrons making up these bonds are poised away from the atoms with which they are associated, and this positioning represents a potential energy that can be released, i.e., as kinetic energy, if the electrons are allowed to "fall" closer to an atom.

The so-described electrons can do this "falling" by participating in redox reactions where they are donated from a less electronegative atom to a more electronegative atom, such as away from carbon (e.g., as found in a C-H nonpolar covalent bond) and towards oxygen (such as found in an O-H polar covalent bond).

Placing of this energy in bonds to begin with naturally requires an input of energy, i.e., as is required to drive endergonic reactions forward. Similarly, an input of energy is required to power anabolism, which too represents to a large extent the creation of chemical bonds that store energy within the resulting molecular products of anabolic reactions.

For more on this topic, see Wikipedia  and Google.  Contact web master.  Return to home.