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This edition: The Power of Metabolism

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Episode Details

Former Olympic gymnast Cathy Rigby relates how her body’s reactions changed when she denied it nutrients while competing as a teenager. Her condition, called bulimia, illustrates the importance of constantly supplying chemical reactions of cells with required ingredients. Among the topics covered in the first half of the program are metabolic pathways and the roles of enzymes, coenzymes, and cofactors.
Next, the program discusses bioluminescence as an example of a unique metabolic process. Using her study of bioluminescent fish, Dr. Margo Haygood relates how an enzyme that carries out a bioluminescent reaction is a luciferase.
In conclusion, Professors Saltman and Haygood summarize the first two laws of thermodynamics. As various animals, including humans, give a display of energy expenditure, the experts discuss the concepts of changing energy from one form to another and constantly using ATP to maintain order in metabolic systems.