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Determination of the intrinsic or mechanistic P/O ratio of oxidative phosphorylation is difficult because of the unknown magnitude of leak fluxes. Applying a new approach developed to overcome this problem (see our preceding paper in this journal), the relationships between the rate of O2 uptake [(JO)3], the net rate of phosphorylation (JP), the P/O ratio, and the respiratory control ratio (RCR) have been determined in rat liver mitochondria when the rate of phosphorylation was systematically varied by three specific means. (a) When phosphorylation is titrated with carboxyatractyloside, linear relationships are observed between JP and (JO)3. These data indicate that the upper limit of the mechanistic P/O ratio is 1.80 for succinate and 2.90 for 3-hydroxybutyrate oxidation. (b) Titration with malonate or antimycin yields linear relationships between JP and (JO)3. These data give the lower limit of the mechanistic P/O ratio of 1.63 for succinate and 2.66 for 3-hydroxybutyrate oxidation. (c) Titration with a protonophore yields linear relationships between JP, (JO)3, and (JO)4 and between P/O and 1/RCR. Extrapolation of the P/O ratio to 1/RCR = 0 yields P/O ratios of 1.75 for succinate and 2.73 for 3-hydroxybutyrate oxidation which must be equal to or greater than the mechanistic stoichiometry. When published values for the H+/O and H+/ATP ejection ratios are taken into consideration, these measurements suggest that the mechanistic P/O ratio is 1.75 for succinate oxidation and 2.75 for NADH oxidation.