The Early History of Bioenergy

  • Popa Radu
Part of the Advances in Astrobiology and Biogeophysics book series (ASTROBIO, volume 2)


Energy is most commonly defined as the potential to do work. The maintenance of the living state requires a constant flow of energy through the system. The concept of energy is not easily implemented in computational models of life and is therefore often ignored in artificial life models. Some models even Open image in new window Open image in new window regard as irrelevant the energetic problematic (dissipation, irreversibility, couplings, energy currencies), in the physical realization of a biological system” (Ruiz-Mirazo et al. 1998). Examples of such models are Rosen’s (M,R)-system, Varela’s autopoietic models, Kauffman’s autocatalytic set, and Fontana’s algorithmic chemistry (see Appendix A). However, many origin-of-life theories maintain the primordial importance of energy for early life. Although everyone accepts that energetic constraints are important when describing material-based living systems, a problem arises when we have to consider whether or not they affect the very logic of the organization (Morán et al. 1999). It is argued here that energy considerations are not only primordial, but intimately related to the essence of life as well.


Early History Energy Currency External Energy Explicit Information Energy Transduction 
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Authors and Affiliations

  • Popa Radu
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Southern California Department of Marine Biology 3651 Trousdale Parkway, AHF 107 90089-0371 Los Angeles, CAUSA

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