Crystalline trypsinogen is completely transformed into trypsin by means of trypsin in the presence of calcium salts. The process follows the course of a pure autocatalytic unimolecular reaction.
In the absence of calcium salts, the autocatalytic formation of trypsin from trypsinogen is complicated by the transformation of part of the trypsinogen into an inert protein which cannot be changed into trypsin by any known means.
Salts increase or decrease the rate of both reactions so that the ultimate amount of trypsin formed varies with the nature and concentration of the salt used. With equivalent concentrations of salt the percentage of trypsinogen changed into trypsin is greatest in the presence of calcium ion followed in order by strontium; magnesium and sodium; rubidium, ammonium, lithium, and potassium; caesium and barium. With the anions the largest percentage of trypsinogen transformed into trypsin was found with the acetate, sulfate, oxalate, citrate, tartrate, fluoride, and chloride ions followed in order by bromide, nitrate, and iodide.
The formation of inert protein is completely suppressed by concentrations of calcium ion greater than 0.02 M.