MadSci Network: Biochemistry

Re: How is metabolism calculated?

Date: Sun Dec 20 13:58:32 1998
Posted By: Gabriel Vargas, Post-doc/Fellow, Neurosciences/Psychiatry, UCSF
Area of science: Biochemistry
ID: 912448294.Bc

Definition of Metabolism: The sum of chemical reactions within a cell or the sum of all cellular activities in an organism. It is also sometimes used in collective names for particular sets of biochemical reactions, as in amino acid metabolism or lipid metabolism. It can be measured in terms of Heat production in kcals/day.

Metabolism is the sum total of all cellular activities in the body and the metabolic rate is a collective measure of these processes. Metabolic rate is sometimes measured as heat released from the body but in organisms using aerobic metabolism, meaning oxygen consuming, it is easier to measure oxygen consumption or CO2 release or both as an indication of metabolic rate. Metabolic rates change with an organisms activity level, higher when the animal is more active. In laboratory studies, the resting metabolism of an organism carrying on only life maintenance functions is called standard metabolism this is equivalent to the basal metabolic rate in humans. Human basal metabolic rates are usually determined in mid morning with the person relaxed but awake and having eaten nothing since the preceding evening.


Leland G. Johnson Biology William C. Brown Company publishers 1983.

Sternheim and Kane General Physics John Wiley and sons 1986.

Hope this helps,



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