Haber-Weiss reaction

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The Haber-Weiss reaction generates •OH (hydroxyl radicals) from H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) and superoxide (•O2-). This reaction can occur in cells and is therefore a possible source for oxidative stress. The reaction is very slow, but is catalyzed by iron. The first step of the catalytic cycle involves reduction of ferric ion to ferrous:

Fe3+ + •O2 → Fe2+ + O2

The second step is the Fenton reaction:

Fe2+ + H2O2 → Fe3+ + OH + •OH

Net reaction:

•O2- + H2O2 → •OH + HO- + O2

The reaction is named after Fritz Haber and his student Joseph Weiss.


  • Koppenol, W.H. (2001). "The Haber-Weiss cycle – 70 years later". Redox Report. 6 (4): 229–234. doi:10.1179/135100001101536373.
  • Haber F., Weiss J. (1932). "On the catalysis of hydroperoxide". Naturwissenschaften. 20: 948–950.