Proton motive force

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Reducing power from metabolic pathways is loaded into the electron chain so that proton motive force (PMF), also called electrochemical gradient, can be generated over the cellmembrane. An electrochemical gradient is a concentration difference of charge and chemical compounds. A cell membrane with an electrochemical gradient is in a state of high potential energy. By thermodynamic laws this concentration difference has the potential to make the charge and chemical compounds to move over the membrane in such a direction that the concentration difference will be reduced. The flow of charge and chemical compounds over the membrane can be used to generate ATP by oxidative phosphorylation. It can also be used to do work directly.

Prokaryotes are different from eukaryotes in that they can use a wide range of fuels (e.g. reduced organic and inorganic compounds)and oxidants [nitrate, sulfate, Fe(III), As(IV), Se(VI), etc.) to generate pmf. Eukaryotes utilize only one oxidant (oxygen) and a small number of reductants (glucose, pyruvate, etc.). Citation needed


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