It should be said in advance that the title of the paper does not reflect its contents accurately. I shall not discuss any of the problems connected with the use of membranes in applied electrochemistry. Above all, this is because I am not expert in that field and for that reason probably see no new scientific problems. Even a cursory glance at the immense literature in that field confirms the view that the task now is that of seeking optimal technological solutions. At the same time the advances made by modern biology have pushed to the forefront a new object — cell membranes, the role of which has been underestimated in the past. It was believed that their main function was to serve as a barrier, i.e. their job was to maintain a constant and different content inside and outside the cell. Gradually it became clear that the membranes are responsible for many of the principal functions of the living cell. Membranes introduced in modern biology the concept of vectorial reactions, they compelled scientists to revise their views in bioenergetics, so that now there is every reason to regard the mitochondria — the power stations of the cell — as a fuel cell. The triumph of the membrane theory compelled scientists to turn to electrochemistry, and, at the same time, stimulated the interest of electrochemists in biology. That is why UNESCO added to the long list of traditional sciences a new one which was designated as biological electrochemistry.


Bilayer Lipid Membrane Electric Breakdown Modern Biology Planar Lipid Bilayer Spontaneous Curvature 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yu. A. Chizmadjev
    • 1
  1. 1.Frumkin Institute of ElectrochemistryUSSR Academy of SciencesMoscowUSSR

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