New edition of ‘Bioenergetics’ published
Stuart Ferguson from the department together with David Nicholls of the Buck Institute in California have published the fourth edition of their core textbook on bioenergetics. Bioenergetics 4 was released on June 14.
This is the newest edition of a book which first appeared in 1982 with David Nicholls as sole author. Stuart Ferguson joined as a co-author for the second edition in 1992 and the third edition in 2002.
The book started as a guide to the chemiosmotic mechanism of energy transduction, an idea which gained Peter Mitchell a Nobel Prize in 1978.
The second edition appeared soon after the Nobel Prize award to researchers who elucidated the first crystal structure of a membrane protein - the photosynthetic reaction centre that contributes to a chemiosmotic mechanism. The edition reflected the increasing knowledge of molecular mechanisms underpinning chemiosmotic energy transduction.
The third edition followed after the Nobel Prize award to John Walker for his structural work on the ATP synthase enzyme. In addition to even more information on molecular mechanisms, Bioenergetics 3 reflected the increasing studies of the bioenergetics of mitochondria in the cell rather than as an isolated organelle.
The explosion of research in this area has generated several new chapters in Bioenergetics 4. Although the timing of Bioenergetics 4 ( the ten year cycle was just missed) does not reflect a Nobel prize for another structure, the content does reflect the major developments in understanding the Complex I of respiratory chains which was published only in 2013.
The first eight chapters of the book continue to explain the chemiosmotic theory and show how it operates not only in mitochondria but also in the thylakoids of chloroplasts. They also cover the diverse respiratory processes found in prokaryotes and selected archaea.
Strangely, the basic ideas of chemiosmosis are as frequently misunderstood now as they were in 1961 when the idea was first proposed. Many standard textbooks continue to propagate misunderstandings that developed at that time. The fallacies underpinning some of these misunderstandings are given extra emphasis in Bioenergetics 4, an aspect that may also help counter some of the thermodynamically impossible schemes that appear in many contemporary cell biology papers.