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Mass-action kinetics are used in chemistry and chemical engineering to describe the dynamics of systems of chemical reactions, that is, reaction networks. These models are a special form of compartmental systems, which involve mass- and energy-balance relations. Aside from their role in chemical engineering applications, mass-action kinetics have numerous analytical properties that are of inherent interest from a dynamical systems perspective. Because of physical considerations, however, mass- action kinetics have special properties, such as nonnegative solutions, that are useful for analyzing their behavior. With this motivation in mind, this article has several objectives. First, a general construction of the kinetic equations based on the reaction laws is provided in a state-space form. Next, the nonnegativity of solutions to the kinetic equations is considered. The realizability problem, which is concerned with the inverse problem of constructing a reaction network having specified essentially nonnegative dynamics, is also considered. In particular, an explicit construction of a reaction network for essentially nonnegative polynomial dynamics involving a scalar state is provided. Next, the reducibility of the kinetic equations is considered as well as the stability of the equilibria of the kinetic equations. Lyapunov methods are applied to the kinetic equations, and semistability is guaranteed through the convergence to a Lyapunov- stable equilibrium that depends on the initial concentrations. Semistability is the appropriate notion of stability for compartmental systems in general, and reaction networks in particular, where the limiting concentration maybe nonzero and may depend on the initial concentrations. Finally, the zero deficiency result for mass-action kinetics in standard matrix terminology is presented and semistability is proven.