Biology as Poetry: Chemistry

Bacteriophage Ecology Group

Exergonic Reaction

Process that gives off energy as it proceeds from start to finish.

An exergonic reaction can also be described as a spontaneous reaction. Technically, the Gibbs free energy associated with the reactants exceeds that associated with the products. Consequently, a net input of energy is not required to motivate the reaction forward. By contrast, see endergonic reaction.

By way of orientation, an exothermic reaction can be somewhat equivalent to an exergonic reaction, though exothermic considers only heat whereas exergonic considers all of the energy associated with a reaction/system.

Note that just because a reaction is exergonic/spontaneous does not mean that it does not require activation energy to get started. It is just that the activation energy is "paid back", and then some, as the exergonic reaction proceeds to completion.

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