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Cellular Respiration

Autotrophs = plants

Harvesting Chemical Energy

• Cellular Respiration is the process in which cells make ATP by breaking down
organic compounds
• Both autotrophs and heterotrophs undergo cellular respiration

Overview of Cellular Respiration

• Autotrophs and heterotrophs use cellular respiration to make carbon dioxide & water
-The autotrophs and heterotrophs make these from organic compounds

• ATP is produced during cellular respiration

The products of cellular respiration are reactants in photosynthesis

• Autotrophs use carbon dioxide and water to produce organic compounds

Basically, the products of photosynthesis are reactants in cellular respiration and the products
of cellular respiration are reactants in photosynthesis.

By autotrophs &

Carbon dioxide and

Organic compounds water
and oxygen

By autotrophs Light energy

Cellular Respiration is divided into two stages:

• Glycolysis
Organic compounds are converted into three-carbon molecules of pyruvic acid
-This produces a small amount of ATP and NADH (an electron carrier molecule)
Glycolysis is an anaerobic process because it does not require the presence of oxygen

• Aerobic Respiration
If oxygen is present in the cell’s environment, pryucic acid is broken down and NADPH is
used to make a large amount of ATP through the process known as aerobic respiration.

Pyruvic acid can enter other pathways if there is no oxygen present in the cell’s environment.
The combination of glycolysis and these anaerobic pathways is called fermentation.
Many of the reactions in cellular respiration are redox reactions. In a redox reaction on
reactant is oxidized (loses electrons) while another is reduced (gains electrons). Many
organic compounds can be oxidized in cellular respiration but the focus is on the simple sugar
glucose (C6H12O6 )

The following equation summarizes cellular respiration:

C6H12O6 + 6O2 ––> 6CO2 + 6H2O + energy)

• Is a biochemical pathway in which one six-carbon molecule of glucose is oxidized to
produce two three-carbon molecules of pyruvic acid.

• Is a series of chemical reactions catalyzed by specific enzymes

• Occurs in the cytosol

The steps in glycolysis include:

1. Two phosphate groups are attached to one molecule of glucose. This forms a new six-
carbon compound. The new six-carbon compound has two phosphate groups. The
phosphate groups are supplied by two molecules of ATP. The ATP is converted into
two molecules of ADP during the process.

2. The six-carbon compound formed in Step 1 is split into two three-carbon molecules
of glyceraldehydes 3-phosphate (G3P). Recall that G3P is also produced by the
Calvin cycle in photosynthesis.

3. The two G3P molecules are oxidized, and each receives a phosphate group. The
product of this step is two molecules of a new three-carbon compound. The
oxidation of G3P is accompanied by the reduction of two molecules of nicotinamide
adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) to NADPH.

• NAD+ is similar to NADP+, a compound involved in the light reactions of


• Like NADP+, NAD+ is an organic molecule that accepts electrons during


4. The phosphate groups added in step 1 and step 3 are removed from the three-carbon
Compounds formed in step 3. This reaction produces two molecules of pyruvic acid.
Each phosphate group is combined with a molecule of ADP to make a molecule of
ATP. Because a total of four phosphate groups were added in step 1 and step 3, four
molecules of ATP are produced.
Notice that two ATP molecules were used in step 1, but four were produced in step 4. Therefore,
glycolysis has a net yield of two ATP molecule of glucose that is converted into pyruvic acid.

Cellular respiration continues as pyruvic acid enters the pathways of aerobic
respiration when oxygen is present. In anaerobic(no oxygen) conditions some cells
can convert pyruvic acid into other compounds through additional biochemical
pathways that occur in the cytosol.

Fermentation is the combination of glycolysis with the additional pathways,

which regenerate NAD+

Additional Fermentation pathways do not produce ATP, however, without a cellular

process that recycled NAD+ from NADPH, glycolysis would quickly use up all the
NAD+ in the cell.

This would cause glycolysis to stop. ATP production through glycolysis would also

The fermentation pathways allow for the continued production of ATP… and
essentially, the continued production of energy in our cells.

Two common fermentation pathways result in the production of lactic acid and ethyl

During lactic acid fermentation an enzyme converts pyruvic acid made during glycolysis into
another three-carbon compound, called lactic acid.

Lactic acid fermentation involves the transfer of one hydrogen atom from NADPH and the
addition of one free proton (H+) to pyruvic acid. In the process, NADPH is oxidized to form

The Resulting NAD+ is used in glycolysis, where it is again reduced to NADPH. Therefore, the
regeneration of NAD+ in lactic acid fermentation helps to keep glycolysis operating.

Lactic acid fermentation occurs commonly in two things. It plays a key role in the manufacture of
dairy products and also occurs in your muscle cells during very strenuous exercise.

As oxygen becomes depleted, the muscle cells begin to switch from cellular
respiration to lactic acid fermentation. Lactic acid accumulates in the muscle
cells, making the cells’ cytosol more acidic.

The increased acidity may make someone develop sore muscles.

After awhile the lactic acid diffuses into the blood and is transported back to the
liver to be converted back to pyruvic acid
Cellular Respiration Info.
(Biology Made Simple by Rita Mary King) + (Biology For Dummies by Donna Rae Siegfried)