Aerobic respiration is also known as cellular respiration, where the organisms use oxygen as fuel to break down sugars, fats, and proteins to produce energy. All plants and animals use oxygen as their fuel source to provide energy for cellular activities in the form of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATPs). Some organisms can break down glucose without oxygen, these organisms are called anaerobes, and the respiration is called anaerobic respiration. It is essential to understand that breathing and respiration are different aspects. Breathing involves exchanging gases through the lungs where oxygen is inhaled, and the carbon dioxide is exhaled. In contrast, respiration takes place in the tissue cells, where oxygen is utilized to break down glucose molecules under various steps to obtain a certain amount of energy in the form of ATPs. The power is present in the ATPs’ phosphate bonds, and whenever the ATPs are dephosphorylated to ADPs (Adenosine Diphosphate), energy is released. Aerobic respiration is more efficient and produces many ATP molecules than anaerobic respiration. The first step, called glycolysis, breaks down glucose molecules, which does not require ATPs or oxygen. The end product is called pyruvic acid and undergoes the citric acid cycle and electron transport chain to produce many ATPs.
What is Aerobic Respiration?
Aerobic respiration is the cellular respiration in all the cells of the organisms that utilize oxygen as a fuel source. All plants and organisms that use oxygen to generate energy are called aerobes. All other bodies that do not require oxygen to make energy are called anaerobes.
The chemical equation of aerobic respiration is:
Glucose (C6H12O6)+(C6H12O6)+ Oxygen 6(O2)\rightarrow6(O2)â†’ Carbon-dioxide 6(CO2)+6(CO2)+ Water 6(H2O) + Energy(ATP)6(H2O)+Energy(ATP)
According to the above equation, glucose molecule is broken down with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and water with energy. The energy is stored in the phosphate bonds of ATPs formed during the process, which are used for various purposes in the body. ATPs are used for all the body’s metabolic activities, such as muscle contractions, digestion, absorption, kidney functions, liver functions, brain activities, etc. It is critical for the survival of any organism.
Steps in Aerobic Respiration
The aerobic respiration is completed in four stages in the cells. They are:
Formation of Acetyl CoA
Electron Transport Chain
Glycolysis: Glycolysis is the first step in the metabolism of glucose. The word glycolysis is a combination of “Glyco” and “lysis.” Glyco refers to glucose and lysis, refers to splitting or breaking down. The glycolysis process does not require oxygen for its operation and takes place in the cell’s cytoplasm and is formed even in primitive organisms. The splitting of glucose molecules requires many enzymes that break down the particles and use two ATP molecules. However, at the end of the process, a product called pyruvic acid is formed along with two ATPs and two NADH molecules. The six carbon-chain glucose molecules are turned into three chained carbon molecules at the end.
Formation of Acetyl CoA: This is the second step of the cellular respiration where the pyruvate is oxidized in the mitochondria, and a 2-carbon acetyl group is produced. The newly created acetyl group combines with the acetyl-coenzyme to form the acetyl coenzyme A .
The citric acid cycle: This stage is the third stage of aerobic respiration. It is also known as the Krebs cycle. The oxaloacetic acid combines with the acetyl-coenzyme A to form the citric acid that undergoes a series of reactions that produce two molecules of carbon dioxide, one unit of ATP and reduced forms of NADH and FADH.
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