Name: David J Williams
Why does carbon monoxide bind more easily with red blood cells than oxygen?
Carbon monoxide binds to hemoglobin about 200 times more strongly than
oxygen and this is because the carbon atom of carbon monoxide reacts
stronger with the iron atom of hemoglobin than either oxygen molecule of
gaseous oxygen. A chemist could give you more specifics about
why this is so. Interestingly, without a special evolutionary
adaptation by the hemoglobin, the carbon monoxide would bind 25,000
times stronger than oxygen!
Keep up the good work.
Michael B Lomonaco
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Update: June 2012