Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • Letter
  • Published:

Energy of Adenosine Triphosphate


PRESENT knowledge of intermediary metabolism is to a large degree linked to the concept of energy transfer by so-called ‘energy-rich’ compounds1 of which adenosine triphosphate is one of the most important. A wide range of values has been cited for the free-energy change on the hydrolysis of this compound at the terminal pyrophosphate group, and a brief survey of the present position may therefore be welcomed by biochemists and biologists.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Lipmann, F., “Adv. Enzymol.”, 1, 99 (1941).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Burton, K., and Krebs, H. A., Biochem. J., 54, 94 (1953).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Lipmann, F., “Adv. Enzymol.”, 6, 231 (1946).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Meyerhof, O., Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 45, 377 (1944). Dixon, M., “Multi-Enzyme Systems” (Camb. Univ. Press, 1949).

    Google Scholar 

  5. Oesper, P., “Phosphorus Metabolism”, edit. by McElroy, W. D., and Glass, B. (Baltimore, Johns Hopkins, 1951). Wurmser, E., “Ann. Rev. Biochem.”, 20, 1 (1951). Vladimirov, G. E., and Guinodman, L. M., Biokhimya, 18, 490 (1953).

    Google Scholar 

  6. Burton, K., Biochem. J., 59, 44 (1955).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Levintow, L., and Meister, A., J. Biol. Chem., 209, 265 (1954).

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Morales, M. F., Botts, J., Blum, J. J., and Hill, T. L., Physiol. Rev., 35, 475 (1955).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Robbins, E. A., and Boyer, P. D., J. Biol. Chem., 224, 121 (1957).

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Vladimirov, G. E., Vlassova, V. G., Kolotilova, A. Y., Lyzlova, S. N., and Panteleyeva, N. S., Nature, 179, 1350 (1957).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Benzinger, T., and Hems, R., Proc. U.S. Nat. Acad. Sci., 42, 896 (1956).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Benzinger, T., Hems, R., Burton, K., and Kitzinger, C. (in preparation).

  13. Robinson, R. A. (in preparation).

  14. Smith, R. M., and Alberty, R. A., J. Amer. Chem. Soc., 78, 2376 (1956).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Kitzinger, C., and Benzinger, T., Z. Naturforsch., 10b, 375 (1955). Podolsky, R. J., and Morales, M. F., J. Biol. Chem., 218, 945 (1956).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Meyerhof, O., and Lohmann, K., Biochem. J., 253, 431 (1932). Ohlmeyer, P., Z. Naturforsch., 1, 30 (1946).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. Krebs, H. A., Ruffo, A., Johnson, M., Eggleston, L. V., and Hems, R., Biochem. J., 54, 107 (1953). Whittam, R., Bartley, W., and Weber, G., Biochem. J., 59, 590 (1955).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

BURTON, K. Energy of Adenosine Triphosphate. Nature 181, 1594–1595 (1958).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing