Fenton Reaction

As research on ROS advances, most radicals turn out to form inside the body itself. Since highly reactive species are unlikely to form in a reducing environment such as blood, a catalytic effect must be the cause.


Oxygen derived species have a degradative effect due to their high oxidation potential. Within a reducing environment like human blood (à antioxidants) such highly energetical molecules are expected to exist rather shortly. Yet, they tend to occur in measurable concentrations which indicates a helping hand working on their formation (Beresevicz 2000).

Iron's catalytic effect

Iron is suspected to be the driving force by catalysing the formation of oxygen derived radicals. The mechanism of a direct reaction with oxygen would be:

Beresevicz (2000) finds three point that speak in this thesis‘ favour:

      I.          In biological systems, O2 concentration is usually much greater than that of H2O2.

     II.           The rate constants for Fe2+-O2 and Fe2+-H2O2 are similar.

    III.           An unbound catalytic metal may be mainly present in reduced form, thereby favoring ist direct

                    interaction with O2 rahter than H2O2.