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Metabolic formation of Hydrogen Peroxide

Athel athel at IR2CBM.CNRS-MRS.FR
Thu Oct 2 06:51:30 EST 1997

J. C. Vines asked:

>I am interested in the metabolic process of  the bombadier beetle, that forms H2O2 as part of it's  defence mechanizm.

>Can anyone describe this Bio/Metabolic process for me?

There is no special difficulty about producing hydrogen peroxide
metabolically: there are many enzymes (all of those in class 1.4, for
example) that produce hydrogen peroxide as part of their normal
activity. The main problem for most organisms is not how to make the
stuff but how to avoid its toxic effects. Most organisms use catalase to
catalyse its disproportionation into water and dioxygen, but presumably
the bombardier beetle has other ways of protecting itself that allow it
to concentrate and store it instead.

If you want to convince yourself of the existence of catalase, allow a
drop of fresh blood to fall into a beaker full of medicinal hydrogen
peroxide. (Do this in a place where you are not too worried about what
falls on the floor). Then ask yourself why a mammal needs to have
catalase in its blood.


Email: athel at bigfoot.com
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