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Measuring Metabolic RatesA Manual for Scientists$
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John R. B. Lighton

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195310610

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195310610.001.0001

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A Brief History of Metabolic Measurement

A Brief History of Metabolic Measurement

(p.3) 1 A Brief History of Metabolic Measurement
Measuring Metabolic Rates

John R. B. Lighton

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the evolution of respirometry from Leonardo da Vinci's musings onwards. The works of Boyle, the brilliant and prophetic Mayow, and the well-intentioned but misguided Priestley are described. The bizarre dead-end theory of phlogiston and its apparent validity to the scientists of the day are explained in historical context. The breakthroughs of Lavoisier and Paulze, who realized the central role of oxygen and pioneered the quantitative measurement of metabolism, end the conventional historical part of the chapter, which concludes with a brief description of the deep history of the molecules most important to respirometry.

Keywords:   respirometry, oxygen, Boyle, Mayow, Priestley, Lavoisier, Paulze

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