Buffers In The Maintenance Of Acidbase Balance

As substrates are metabolized to end products such as phosphoric and sulfuric acid, phosphate anions and proteins both in the plasma and in cells buffer the protons from these strong acids. Proteins contain multiple negative charges because of dissociated carboxyl groups on the acidic amino acids, and they can be represented as polyvalent anions, Pn—. (The valence n— indicates that there are n negative charges.) On the average, plasma proteins have a valence of —11 to —12. In the following reactions, which are examples of the buffering of H+ that normally occurs in the plasma and within cells, a protein with a valence of —12 is used as an example:

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