w Metabolism Problem Set

The Biology Project: Biochemistry

Metabolism Problem Set

Problem 3: Trematol

Trematol is a metabolic poison derived from the white snake root. Cows eating this plant concentrate the poison in their milk. The poison inhibits liver enzymes that convert lactic acid to other compounds for metabolism. Why does physical exertion increase symptoms of poisoning by trematol? Why does the pH of the blood decrease in a person who has digested trematol?

A. Physical exertion would increase the production of latic acid by fermentation, and the build up of lactic acid decreases blood pH when liver enzymes are blocked.
During exertion, our muscles produce lactic acid from pyruvate by fermentation, allowing the regeneration of NAD+ for continued ATP production by glycolysis. Because lactic acid metabolism is blocked by tremetol, the acid would build up in our blood, decreasing the pH.
B. Physical exertion increases metabolism, and the electron transport chain, pumping H+ out of mitochondria increases blood pH.

The Biology Project
University of Arizona
Tuesday, August 20, 1996
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