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I am not in the field of biochemistry so this may be a rookie question or misconception.

I heard occasionally about the energy "released" from ATP hydrolysis fueling (endergonic) biological reactions. I am concerned about how does the energy "released" actually "fuel" another reaction mechanistically. In chemistry and physics, you can say that the fact that energy is released is a sign that the process (ATP hydrolysis) is energetically favorable (more stable bonds are formed as some weaker ones are broken). Subsequently, when the released energy is heat for instance, this heat can be used to do (or "fuel") mechanical work (like in a car engine). This is intuitive to me but the same cannot be said with ATP hydrolysis. How does the release of energy from ATP-hydrolysis actually "fuel" other reactions? or is it a misuse?

Thank you so much.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is a basic, although not simple, question which has been asked here before. It is best researched in a biochemistry text book rather than in an answer on this list. You will find a good account in Berg et al. of how the overall free energy change is regarded as determining whether a chemical conversion is thermodynamically favourable, and how an unfavourable reaction can be coupled to a favourable one. After reading that, please repost here or on Chemistry for clarification. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Jan 15 '20 at 9:51

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