, Volume 27, Issue 1-2, pp 71-88

Chemical systems consisting only of elementary steps – a paradigma for nonlinear behavior

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We present a new analytic method which allows one to interpret a mass‐action kinetic reaction of arbitrary molecularity as the limit case of a sequence of bimolecular steps. Together with other technics (transformation of an arbitrary ODE into a polynomial ODE [8]; transformation of a polynomial ODE into a form which can be interpreted as a mass‐action kinetic system [10]), it is thus possible to construct an at most bimolecular mass‐action kinetic system with the same dynamic behavior as an arbitrary ODE. Furthermore, we demonstrate necessary improvements of the transformation given in [10]. Is is also shown that an arbitrary single mass‐action kinetic reaction can be understood as a sequence of two reactions with a short‐living intermediate. In particular, it therefore follows that an autocatalytic reaction can always be approximated by two nonautocatalytic ones without changing the dynamics of the whole system.

This revised version was published online in July 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.