Chemical transformations, like osmotic translocations, are transport processes when looked at in detail. In chemiosmotic systems, the pathways of specific ligand conduction are spatially orientated through osmoenzymes and porters in which the actions of chemical group, electron and solute transfer occur as vectorial (or higher tensorial order) diffusion processes down gradients of total potential energy that represent real spatially-directed fields of force. Thus, it has been possible to describe classical bag-of-enzymes biochemistry as well as membrane biochemistry in terms of transport. But it would not have been possible to explain biological transport in terms of classical transformational biochemistry or chemistry. The recognition of this conceptual asymmetry in favour of transport has seemed to be upsetting to some biochemists and chemists; and they have resisted the shift towards thinking primarily in terms of the vectorial forces and co-linear displacements of ligands in place of their much less informative scalar products that correspond to the conventional scalar energies. Nevertheless, considerable progress has been made in establishing vectorial metabolism and osmochemistry as acceptable biochemical disciplines embracing transport and metabolism, and bioenergetics has been fundamentally transformed as a result.
Research Article| December 01 1991
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Peter Mitchell; Foundations of vectorial metabolism and osmochemistry. Biosci Rep 1 December 1991; 11 (6): 297–346. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01130212
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