1. In the absence of protective agents, highly purified ascorbic acid oxidase is rapidly inactivated during the enzymatic oxidation of ascorbic acid under optimum experimental conditions. This inactivation, called reaction inactivation to distinguish it from the loss in enzyme activity that frequently occurs in diluted solutions of the oxidase prior to the reaction, is indicated by incomplete oxidation of the ascorbic acid as measured by oxygen uptake; i.e., "inactivation totals."
2. A minor portion of the reaction inactivation appears to be due to environmental factors such as rate of shaking of the manometers, pH of the system, substrate concentration, and oxidase concentration. The presence of inert protein (gelatin) in the system ameliorates the environmental inactivation to a considerable extent, and variation of the above factors in the presence of gelatin has much less effect on the inactivation totals than in the absence of gelatin.
3. A major portion of the reaction inactivation of the oxidase appears to be due to some factor inherent in the ascorbic acid-ascorbic acid oxidase-oxygen system, possibly a highly reactive "redox" form of oxygen other than H2O2 or H2O. The inactivation cannot be attributed to dehydroascorbic acid, the oxidation product of ascorbic acid.
4. Small amounts of native catalase, native peroxidase, native or denatured methemoglobin, and hemin when added to the system, markedly protect the oxidase against inactivation. Cytochrome c has no such protective action. Likewise proteins such as egg albumin, gelatin, denatured catalase, or denatured peroxidase show no such protective action.
5. None of the protective agents mentioned above affect the initial rate of oxygen uptake or change the total oxygen absorbed for complete oxidation of the ascorbic acid, and hence do not act by removal of hydrogen peroxide, per se.
6. Sodium azide and hydroxylamine hydrochloride which inhibit catalase and peroxidase activity also inhibit the protective action of these iron-porphyrin enzymes.