Dr. Fritz Albert Lipmann, 87, a biochemist who shared the 1953 Nobel Prize for his pioneering research on the conversion of food into energy, died July 24 at a hospital in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. He had a heart ailment.
At the time of his death, Dr. Lipmann was professor emeritus at Rockefeller University, where he had taught and conducted research since 1957. When he won the Nobel, he was affiliated with Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital.
He shared the Nobel Prize with the late British biologist Sir Hans Adolf Krebs. The two researchers had conducted their work independently. Dr. Lipmann was cited especially for his 1945 discovery of coenzyme A, one of the most important substances in the body's metabolism. The substance aids in converting fatty acids, steroids, amino acids and hemoglobins into energy.
His research helped open the way to current understanding of bioenergetics. It also shed light on the relationship between energy use and energy storage in body metabolism.
In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson presented Dr. Lipmann with the National Medal of Science, this country's highest award for scientific achievement, "for original discoveries of molecular mechanisms . . . and for fundamental contributions to the conceptual structure of modern biochemistry."
Dr. Lipmann was born in what was Konigsberg, Prussia, and what is now part of the Soviet Union. He earned a medical doctorate at the University of Berlin in 1922 and a doctorate in chemistry there in 1927. He then joined the Kaiser Wilhelm Institut in Berlin, a world-famous center of biochemical research. He conducted research in the laboratory of Otto Meyerhof, who shared the 1922 Nobel Prize in medicine.
His early work was in the mechanism of fluoride effects, the properties of lactic acid, and tissue cultures. He became an authority in the field of creatine phosphate breakdown during muscle activity. In 1931, he traveled to New York for a year's fellowship at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research. He then spent seven years in Copenhagen, where he did research in the Biological Institute of the Carlsberg Foundation.
With war clouds gathering over Europe, Dr. Lipmann came to this country in 1939, only to find that immigration laws and licensing restrictions prevented him from practicing medicine. Almost penniless, he secured a research fellowship at Cornell University medical school. In 1941, he became the senior biochemist at Massachusetts General Hospital. During World War II, he was a civilian scientist with the Office of Scientific Research and Development.
After the war, he returned to Massachusetts General. In addition to his work at the hospital, he joined the faculty of Harvard University medical school in 1946. He was professor of biochemistry at Harvard from 1949 to 1957.
In addition to his other prizes, he was the 1948 recipient of a Mead Johnson Co. award for his outstanding work on Vitamin B-complex substances. He was a member of professional and honorary organizations in this country and Europe. In addition to his technical works, he was the author of a 1971 autobiography, "Wanderings of a Biochemist."
Survivors include his wife of 55 years, the former Freda Hall, of Rhinebeck, N.Y.; a son, Stephen, of Irvington, N.Y., and a grandchild.