Malcolm Dixon

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For the rugby league footballer of the 1960s and '70s for Great Britain, England, Yorkshire, and Featherstone Rovers, see Malcolm "Mal" Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon (1899 - 1985)
Born 18 April 1899
Cambridge, UK
Died 7 December 1985(1985-12-07) (aged 86)
Cambridge, UK
Residence UK
Nationality British
Fields Biochemistry
Institutions University of Cambridge
Alma mater University of Cambridge (PhD)
Thesis The types of oxidation-reduction system, enzymic and non-enzymic, present in living animal tissues (1925)
Doctoral advisor Frederick Hopkins
Doctoral students
Notable awards FRS (1942)[2]

Malcolm Dixon (18 April 1899 – 7 December 1985) was a British biochemist.

Education and early life[edit]

Dixon was born in Cambridge, UK to Allick Page Dixon and Caroline Dewe Dixon (née Mathews).[2] He received his PhD in 1925, for research supervised by Frederick Gowland Hopkins at the University of Cambridge.[3]

Research and career[edit]

Dixon's research investigated the purification of enzymes and the enzyme kinetics of enzyme-catalyzed reactions. He studied the oxidation of glutathione and other thiols by molecular oxygen and measured the redox potential of the thiol-disulfide system, also establishing that the oxidation of glutathione was catalyzed by trace metals. He investigated xanthine oxidase, and thereby elucidated many aspects of the chemistry of dehydrogenases. He showed that the hydrogen peroxide formed in the reaction of xanthine oxidase with molecular oxygen inactivated the enzyme and that the inhibition could be relieved by the addition of catalase, thus helping to establish a biochemical role for the latter enzyme. Dixon published a series of papers on D-amino acid oxidase, detailing the kinetics and thermodynamics of association of the coenzyme with the apoprotein, the substrate and inhibitor specificity, and the effect of pH on the kinetic constants.

Dixon was an expert on the theory and use of manometers. In 1931, he collaborated with David Keilin and Robin Hill to determine the first absorption spectrum of a cytochrome, cytochrome c. Dixon studied the chemistry of lachrymators and mustard gas and proposed a phosphokinase theory to explain their mode of action.[citation needed]

Awards and honours[edit]

Dixon was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1942[2] and became a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge in 1950. He died in Cambridge in 1985.


  1. ^ "Chemistry Tree - Brian S. Hartley Family Tree". Archived from the original on 2015-12-30. 
  2. ^ a b c Perham, R. N. (1988). "Malcolm Dixon. 18 April 1899-7 December 1985". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 34 (0): 98–131. ISSN 0080-4606. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1988.0005. 
  3. ^ Dixon, Malcolm (1925). The types of oxidation-reduction system, enzymic and non-enzymic, present in living animal tissues (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge.