We review recent evidence illustrating the fundamental difference between cytoplasmic and test tube biochemical kinetics and thermodynamics, and showing the breakdown of the law of mass action and power-law approximation in in vivo conditions. Simulations of biochemical reactions in non-homogeneous media show that as a result of anomalous diffusion and mixing of the biochemical species, reactions follow a fractal-like kinetics. Consequently, the conventional equations for biochemical pathways fail to describe the reactions in in vivo conditions. We present a modification to fractal-like kinetics following the Zipf-Mandelbrot distribution which will enable the modelling and analysis of biochemical reactions occurring in crowded intracellular environments. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.