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Give an Account of ATP Production in Living Organisms

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Give an Account of ATP Production in Living Organisms All cells must do work to stay alive and maintain their cellular environment. The energy needed for cell work comes from the bonds of ATP. Cells obtain their ATP by oxidizing organic molecules, a process called cellular respiration. Glucose is the primary fuel molecule for the cells of living organisms. Every living organism must do cell respiration. Most eukaryotic organisms are aerobic. Aerobic respiration is required in order to obtain enough energy (ATP) from the oxidations of fuel molecules to survive. In aerobic respiration glucose is broken down into water and carbon dioxide. Oxygen is required as the final electron acceptor for the oxidations. C6H12O6 + 6O2 ? 6H2O + 6CO2 + ATP Not all cell respiration is aerobic. ...read more.


The hydrogen atoms lost from it are taken up by NAD to produce NADH + H+. This process is exothermic and enough energy is released to produce 4 molecules of ATP. This is known as substrate level phosphorylation. If oxygen is available to do aerobic respiration, the pyruvate molecules will be oxidized in the next stages of aerobic respiration. The reactions of aerobic respiration after glycolysis occur in the mitochondria and include the link reaction, the Kreb's cycle and electron transport chain. If oxygen is not available, the pyruvate molecules will proceed with fermentation. At this stage in anaerobic respiration no more ATP is used or produced in the rest of the process. Therefore, in total, anaerobic respiration produces only 4 molecules of ATP, but uses 2 in the creation of hexose bisphosphate. ...read more.


Each NADH + H+ molecule produces 3 molecules of ATP. 2 molecules of NADH + H+ are produced in both glycolysis and the link reaction and 6 molecules are produced in the Kreb's cycle. Therefore, 30 molecules of ATP are produced from the oxidation of the 10 molecules of NADH + H+. FADH + H+ produces only 2 molecules of ATP. In total 2 molecules of FADH + H+ are produced, both in the Kreb's cycle. Therefore, with the 4 molecules of ATP produced by FADH + H+ in oxidative phosphorylation, and the 30 by NADH + H+ as well as the 4 molecules of ATP produced in earlier stages, a total of 38 molecules of ATP are produced by aerobic respiration. This is 36 more than that produced in anaerobic respiration. This shows why aerobic respiration is so more effective at producing energy than anaerobic respiration and, therefore, why it is used the majority of the time by eukaryotic organisms. ...read more.

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