We’ve discussed some very important concepts and principles in the past two chapters related to the studies of reaction rates and chemical equilibria. In this chapter, we began with the law of mass action and the significance of the equilibrium state of a chemical reaction. With our understanding of the significance of Keq and Q, we are able to predict the direction that a reaction will go in response to various stresses—concentration, pressure, or temperature changes—that might be applied to a system.
The concept of homeostasis in biology is a direct result of the energy associated with disturbing equilibria in the body. Reactions are often held slightly out of the equilibrium state to generate energy. Many pathologies you will encounter in your future career in medicine will have a fundamental basis in disturbed chemical equilibria—just wait until you start ordering metabolic panels on your patients!