Statistical analysis of the Michaelis-Menten equation

Biometrics. 1987 Dec;43(4):793-803.


An application of the method of maximum likelihood (ML) is described for analysing the results of enzyme kinetic experiments in which the Michaelis-Menten equation is obeyed. Accurate approximate solutions to the ML equations for the parameter estimates are presented for the case in which the experimental errors are of constant relative magnitude. Formulae are derived that approximate the standard errors of these estimates. The estimators are shown to be asymptotically unbiased and the standard errors observed in simulated data rapidly approach the theoretical lower bound as the sample size increases. The results of a large-scale Monte Carlo simulation study indicate that for data with a constant coefficient of variation, the present method is superior to other published methods, including the conventional transformations to linearity and the nonparametric technique proposed by Eisenthal and Cornish-Bowden (1974, Biochemical Journal 139, 715-720). Finally, the present results are extended to the analysis of simple receptor binding experiments using the general approach described by Munson and Rodbard (1980, Analytical Biochemistry 107, 220-239).

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Enzymes / metabolism*
  • Kinetics
  • Mathematics
  • Monte Carlo Method


  • Enzymes