The Chemical Process of Cellular Respiration

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The Chemistry Behind Cellular Respiration

Biology and Chemistry, although separate courses, they are one of the most intertwined disciplines taught within the scientific community. They co-exist in a symbolic relationship. If we look specifically at the mitochondria of the cell we can see the chemistry behind the process of Cellular Respiration. Cellular Respiration is an important and necessary biological phenomenon because it allows the human body to create the energy required for endergonic processes within the body. Cellular Respiration is a long and complex chemical process that takes place within the mitochondria of the cell. This process occurs specifically due to the chemical equation (C6H12O6 + O2 → CO2 + H2O + Energy) which is the basis for the process of Cellular Respiration and ultimately the reason it works. Without the chemical processes that take place within the mitochondria, better known as the biological phenomena of Cellular Respiration life within complex, multicellular organisms could not exist.

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The purpose of Cellular Respiration is to release the energy stored in food, or more specifically in glucose. The energy released by cellular respiration is used in the synthesis in a molecule known as ATP ( Adenosin Triphosate). ATP is a chemical used to fuel a variety of endergonic processes that the cell must undergo to survive and function properly. Without the abundance of ATP created through Cellular Respiration the cell cannot function properly, if at all. A lack of ATP will eventually lead to the death of a cell and ultimately the death of the organism as a whole.

The process of Cellular Respiration takes place completely within the mitochondria and is the process in which cells turn sugars into a form of energy that can be used at the cellular level. The process starts when glucose enters the cell and is broken down into two pyruvate and a variety of other molecules. In the presence of the oxygen atom the pyruvates are then used to produce acetyl-CoA. The Krebs Cycle then kicks in oxidizing CO2 and reducing NAD into NADH and then finally the NADH travels to the electron transport chain. Here it is used to create a gradient causing the excess H+ to flow through the ATP synthase resulting in the phosphorylation of ADP and ultimately producing ATP.

The chemistry behind Cellular Respiration in centered around the equation C6H12O6 + 6O2 → 6CO2 + 6H2O + Energy. This equation is the end result of countless chemical reactions taking place throughout Cellular Respiration. The chemistry behind cellular respiration has to do with the chemical interactions between molecules. In the center of Cellular Respiration lies the chemical reactions of Oxidation and Reduction, also known as redox reactions. These reactions rely on atoms reacting with each other by taking and donating electrons. This reaction between the atoms is what fuels the electron transport chain and ultimately it creates the necessary energy to bond ADP and Phosphoric acid as the large concentration of H+ flows through the ATP synthase though the chemical process of diffusion. This energy is then released through dehydration synthesis of the ATP molecule as the cell needs it.

In the end we can now see how chemistry is the underlying factor of major biological phenomena. Without chemistry major biological processes such as Cellular Respiration couldn’t occur and therefore complex, multicellular organisms would not exist. Without chemical terminology and equations that explain chemical interactions one would be unable to explain the biological function of life.

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