Metabolic Generation and Utilization of Phosphate Bond Energy
Title page to German-born American biochemist Fritz Lipmann's 1941 free energy coupling / ATP energy currency theory paper: “Metabolic Generation and Utilization of Phosphate Bond Energy”.
In famous publications, “Metabolic Generation and Utilization of Phosphate Bond Energy” is a 1941, 63-page, article by German-born American biochemist Fritz Lipmann in which the free energy coupling and ATP 'energy currency' theories were presented. This paper introduced the squiggle (~) for the first time to represent the phosphate bond. Lipmann began writing his essay while on vacation at Lake Iroquois, Vermont. [2] The following view of Lipmann’s paper is given by National Academy of Sciences biographer Eugene Kennedy: [3]

“In his masterly and highly influential review in 1941 Lipmann was to emphasize the central role of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) as an ‘energy-rich’ phosphate ester, the breakdown of which to adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and inorganic phosphate (Pi) drives not only muscle contraction but also a host of other energy-requiring [endergonic] processes.”

By 1968, Lipmann’s phosphate bond energy metabolic wheel diagram (pg. 122), spun by food fuel in and waste gases out, was listed as a “classic page” by Circulation Research of the American heart association. [4] Lipmann’s paper has a current Google Scholar citation number of 435. [5]

Precursors or rather co-papers to this famous article include those of Lipmann’s research associate Danish-born American biochemist Herman Kalckar’s papers on energy coupling (1939, 1941). [6]

1. Lipmann, Fritz. (1941). “Metabolic Generation and Utilization of Phosphate Bond Energy”. New York. In: Advances in Enzymology and Related Subjects – Vol. 1 (1941), (pg. 99-162). Interscience Publishers.
2. Peacock, Scot. (1997). Contemporary Authors, Volume 159 (pgs. 270-72). Gale.
3. Kennedy, Eugene P. (1991). “Herman Moritz Kalckar (1908-1991)” – US National Academy of Sciences.
4. Anon. (1968). “Classic Pages: Fritz Lipmann”, Circulation Research, 22: 624.
5. Metabolic Generation and Utilization of Phosphate Bond Energy – Google Scholar (2009).
6. (a) Kalckar, Herman. (1939). “Coupling between Phosphorylations and Oxidations in Kidney Extracts.” Biochem. J. 6:209.
(b) Kalckar, Herman. (1941). “The Nature of Energetic Coupling in Biological Synthesis” Chem. Rev. 28:71.

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