What is Biological Thermodynamics?

Biological thermodynamics is the quantitative study of the energy transductions that occur in and between living organisms, structures, and cells and of the nature and function of the chemical processes underlying these transductions.

Biological thermodynamics is the quantitative study of the energy transductions that occur in and between structures, living organism and cells and of the function and nature of the chemical processes underlying these transductions. It address the question that the benefit associated with any particular phenotypic trait is worth the energy investment it requires. German-British biochemist and medical doctor Hans Krebs’ in 1957 book Energy Transformation in Living Matter, that was written with Hans Kornberg was the first major publication on the thermodynamics of biochemical reactions. The Non-equilibrium thermodynamics has been applied to explain how biological organisms can develop from the disorder. Ilya Prigogine also developed the methods for the thermodynamic treatment of such systems. As these systems are formed and maintained by the dissipative processes that exchange energy between the system and its environment, he called this system as a dissipative system. If that exchange ceases, they disappear. In biology, the energy transformation is dependent upon photosynthesis. Thermodynamics in Biology — In biology and biochemistry, the field of biological thermodynamics is focused on principles of thermodynamics. The Principles covered include the Gibbs free energy, reaction kinetics, first law of thermodynamics, the second law of thermodynamics, statistical thermodynamics, and on hypotheses of the origin of life.

The subject concerns itself with the study of biochemical dynamics such as: ATP hydrolysis, DNA binding, protein stability, enzyme kinetics, membrane diffusion, and other such essential energy controlled pathways. The sun is the principal source of energy for living organism. Organisms like humans acquire indirect energy from the sun whereas, a living organism like plants require direct sunlight. No matter what the type of living species, all living organisms must transduce, capture, store, and use energy to live.

There are two laws of thermodynamics-

1st Law of Thermodynamics:

It is a statement of the conservation of energy; however it can be changed from one form to another, energy can be neither destroyed nor created. A principle called Hess’s Law arises from the first law. It states that the heat evolved or absorbed in a given reaction must always be independent of the manner and constant in which the reaction takes place.

2nd Law of Thermodynamics:

The Second Law is primarily concerned with whether or not a given process is possible. It states that no natural process can occur unless it is accompanied by an increase in the entropy of the universe.

Thermodynamics help includes a staggering subject with an immense amount of material. We have made it simpler by dividing the subject into subtopics that students can make sense of. Main subtopics include:

● Heat transfer

● Heat cycles

● Entropy

● Process cycles and equilibrium

● Refrigerators

● Heat pumps

About Author:

My name is Kathlin Smith, and I am a professor of Biological thermodynamics in Central Queensland University, Australia.A lot of students come to me seeking thermodynamics help to clear their doubts in thermodynamics. The subject is very interesting but for those who lack in core concepts and basic ideas about the subject will face lots of difficulties.If you are among such students, don’t worry. I am here to help you with your thermodynamics lessons.

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