Leonor Michaelis- Michaelis-Menten Equation Formulator

Leonor Michaelis – formulator of Michaelis-Menten equation

Leonor Michaelis was a German biochemist, physical chemist, and physician born on January 16, 1875 – died on October 8, 1949. Michaelis is well known for his work formulation of Michaelis-Menten equation.

He investigated on

  • The effects of hydrogen ion concentration on the rates of enzyme reactions
  • The effects of substrate concentration on the rates of enzyme reactions at constant pH

Inhibitors of enzyme reactions that compete with substrate for binding to the enzyme (competitive inhibitors) and inhibitors that decrease the rate of the reaction of the enzyme–substrate complex to form product and free enzyme

Michaelis and Menten were able to express mathematically the relationship they were investigating, which demonstrated that each enzyme not only has its own substrate but also that at sufficient concentrations of substrate it has its own rate of causing that substrate to change chemically. One of the constants used in expressing this rate is now called the Michaelis-Menten constant.

He discovered Janus green as a supravital stain for mitochondria. Michaelis discovered Michaelis-Gutmann body in urinary tract infections. He found that thioglycolic acid could dissolve keratin protein.

From 1900 to 1904, Michaelis continued his study of clinical medicine at a municipal hospital in Berlin, where he found time to establish a chemical laboratory.

Facts about thioglycolic acid

Thioglycolic Acid contains both a thiol (mercaptan) and carboxylic acid functional groups. It is a colorless liquid with a strongly unpleasant odor. It is used as a chemical depilatory and is still used as such, especially in salt forms, including calcium thioglycolate and sodium thioglycolate. Thioglycolic Acid is the precursor to ammonium thioglycolate that is used for permanents. It and its derivatives break the disulfide bonds in the cortex of hair. It is also used as an acidity indicator, manufacturing of thioglycolates, and in bacteriology for preparation of thioglycolate media.

Manufacturing Process

Thioglycolic acid is prepared by reaction of sodium or potassium chloracetate with alkali metal hydrosulfide in aqueous medium.

It can be also prepared via the Bunte salt obtained by reaction of sodium thiosulphate with chloroacetic acid.

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