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free' rad'ical

Chem., Biochem.
an atom or molecule that bears an unpaired electron and is extremely reactive, capable of engaging in rapid chain reactions that destabilize other molecules and generate many more free radicals: in the body, deactivated by antioxidants, uric acid, and certain enzyme activities. Cf. diradical.

Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.

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