Quantitative aspects of metabolic organization; a discussion of concepts

Kooijman, S. A. L. M. 2001. Quantitative aspects of metabolic organization; a discussion of concepts. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 356: 331 - 349


Metabolic organization of individual organisms follows simple quantitative rules that can be understood from basic physical chemical principles. Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) theory identifies these rules, which quantify how individuals acquire and utilize energy and nutrients.

The theory provides constraints on the metabolic organization of sub-cellular processes. Together with rules for interaction between individuals, it also provides a basis to understand population and ecosystem dynamics. The theory, therefore, links various levels of biological organization. It applies to all species of organisms and offers explanations to body-size scaling relationships of natural history parameters that are difficult to understand otherwise.

A considerable number of popular empirical models turn out to be special cases of the DEB model, or very close numerical approximations. Strong and weak homeostasis and the partionability of reserve kinetics are cornerstones of the theory and essential to understand the evolution of metabolic organization.

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