Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease

, Volume 6, Supplement 1, pp 70–77

The role of molybdenum in human biology

  • M. P. Coughlan

DOI: 10.1007/BF01811327

Cite this article as:
Coughlan, M.P. J Inherit Metab Dis (1983) 6(Suppl 1): 70. doi:10.1007/BF01811327


Molybdenum, because of its unique chemistry, is the biological catalyst for reactions in which proton and electron transfer, and possibly oxygen transfer, are coupled. The molybdoenzymes in man are sulphite oxidase, xanthine oxidase/dehydrogenase and aldehyde oxidase. The former is essential for detoxication of the sulphite arising from metabolism of sulphur-containing amino acids, from ingestion of bisulphite preservative and from inhalation of sulphur dioxide, an atmospheric pollutant. Whether, or not, any of the reactions catalysed by xanthine oxidase/dehydrogenase and aldehyde oxidase are necessary for human well-being has yet to be established.

Copyright information

© SSIEM and MTP Press Limited 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. P. Coughlan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryUniversity CollegeGalwayIreland