Cellular Respiration (Textbook Chapter)

Justin Tom


After a long day at school, you may first enter your room, turn on the lights, plug in your phone to charge, and turn on your computer to surf the Internet. Those three things, and many more everyday conveniences, require electricity to run. Where does this energy come from? In most cases, the electricity is generated at a power plant. Another form of energy, like from a running river, blowing wind, burning coal, or even nuclear interactions, is converted to electrical energy and used to power numerous households and businesses. Much like these power plants, living things need to convert different forms of energy into useable forms. At a cellular level, this process is conversion of complex compounds into adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and certain electron carriers, which are used to power countless reactions within a cell. Cells have many ways of producing this much-needed energy source, and they can use different methods to adapt under different stressors or environmental factors. In this chapter, we will discuss the function of electron carriers and ATP within a cell. We will also cover one of the main ways a cell can produce these forms of energy: through glycolysis, the citric acid cycle, and oxidative phosphorylation.

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