The effect of pH on the dissociation of oxygen from haemoglobin, first discovered by the Danish physiologist Christian Bohr (1855–1911). An increase in carbon dioxide concentration makes the blood more acidic and decreases the efficiency of the uptake of oxygen by haemoglobin molecules. This shifts the oxygen dissociation curve to the right and increases the tendency of haemoglobin to release oxygen (see haemoglobinic acid). Thus in actively respiring tissues, where the concentration of carbon dioxide in the blood is high, haemoglobin readily releases its oxygen, while in the lungs, where blood carbon dioxide is low (due to its continual diffusion into the alveoli), haemoglobin readily binds oxygen.
Subjects: Biological Sciences — Chemistry.