Thursday, September 23, 2010

Just Breathe --- Or You Can't Break Down Your Food -- at Least Not All the Way

So..we discussed respiration yesterday.  I wanted to expand further on the differences between aerobic and anaerobic respiration.

Anaerobic respiration takes place solely in the cytoplasm and requires no oxygen to process the glucose molecule.  Anaerobic respiration only provides 2 ATP per 1 glucose molecule, but those organisms that rely only on this method of energy production are single celled organisms that don't need much energy to maintain homeostasis.

Eukaryotic organisms take this process further by shuffling the now broken sugar molecule into the mitochondria.  Inside the mitochondria, the sugar is further broken down to release more energy.  As a result of 1 glucose molecule being processed in the presence of oxygen, the cell receives 36 to 38 ATP as compared to only 2 ATP in anaerobic respiration.

As far as anaerobic respiration (aka fermentation) goes, there are 2 outcomes for sugar.

1. Alcohol fermentation - When an organism processes sugar in this manner, it produces alcohol and ethyl alcohol and of course ATP.

Follow the link below to watch a video about fermentation.....maybe you can even try to make the ginger soda they demonstrate.

Alcoholic fermentation

2. Lactic acid fermentation - When an organism processes sugar in this manner, it only produces lactic acid and of course ATP.

So no matter what the nucleus situation a cell has they are able to release the energy in their food by cellular respiration.

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