Letter | Published:

Synthesis by Means of Ferments

Naturevolume 92page399 (1913) | Download Citation



THE short article on the synthesis of glucosides by means of ferments in NATURE for November 6 (p. 304) contains the statement, “hitherto it has not been proved that enzymes have anything but an analytical action.” “Prof. Bourquelot… has, however, obtained results which justify the conclusion that the decomposing action continues up to a certain point only, and that at this point synthetic action begins.” Prof. Bourquelot's discovery is by no means new, because in 1898 Dr. Croft Hill, in a paper on reversible zymolysis in the Transactions of the Chemical Society for 1898 (vol. lxxiii., part 2, p. 634) not only showed that the products of fermentation arrested the action of the enzyme which caused it, but also that if these products reached a certain concentration, the enzyme instead of producing further hydrolysis began to reverse its action into a synthetic one, and built up instead of breaking down. These experiments were further extended and described in the Transactions of the Chemical Society for 1903 (vol. lxxxiii., part 1, p. 578), where he also gives an account of experiments made by other authors, and concludes (p. 597) with the words: “These observations, together with my own more recent results, make it increasingly more probable that the view I put forward in 1898 is a correct one, namely that all ferment actions are reversible.”

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