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A chemistry question: H2O and a catalyst?

  1. Mar 25, 2003 #1
    somebody emailed me the following:

    "I know that H2O2 (Hydrogen Peroxide) can be reacted
    with the enzyme catalase to produce H20 and O2 (water
    and oxygen). H2O2 is found in blood and cells which is
    why it foams when you put it on a cut.

    But what I want to know, is can I achieve this:

    H2O + catalyst -> 2H+ & 2O-

    do you know of a catalyst or if it is possible?
    I heard it is."

    Does anybody have a clue?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 25, 2003 #2
    You'll want to first nitpick your correspondent's statement by reminding him or her that there is catalase in the cells, and when you apply hydrogen peroxide to tissue you get that foaming.

    As far as getting protons and oxygen anions from water catalytically, probably the closest thing is the oxygen evolving complex from photosystem II, where water is cleaved to give off dioxygen (which we aerobes breathe), protons (which set up a proton gradient across a membrane), and electrons for use in physiological redox reactions. There is a whole boatload of interest in developing model systems, both for understanding the biological processes as well as for chemical applications. There is also a whole bunch of people investigating various proteins which may have interesting applications in chemistry and environmental science (nitrogenase, hydrogenases, etc.)

    Beyond that, am not totally sure, although would not be surprised to find out that you get some protons and oxygen anions if you electrolyze water long enough.
  4. Mar 25, 2003 #3


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    IIRC, H2O2 is not very stable. It will degrade to H2O + O2 on its own in the presence of most things. It's a trick to keep it as H2O2.

    Not sure about a product of 2H+ & 2O-
    But I suspec that would not last long either in an ionic state without special conditions.
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