The Living Cell as an Open Thermodynamic System: Bacteria and Irreversible Thermodynamics
FORT DETRICK FREDERICK MD
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Little is known about the fundamental cause of cell division of bacteria, even though much information concerning cellular metabolism is available. An hypothesis is presented, considering the living cell as an open thermodynamic system, that provides a general description in terms of nonequilibrium thermodynamics of initiation, continuation of growth, and division of these organisms. The same hypothesis can be applied to yeasts and possibly to mammalian cells. The proposed hypothesis accounts simply for the commonly observed characteristics of the bacterial life cycle. It provides reasons for certain observed anomalies, showing them to be logical events in the proposed theoretical context. Other commonly observed events are shown to be artifacts of the usual investigational techniques.