Q:

What does anaerobic mean?

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Quick Answer

Anaerobic is defined as being able to exist without, or not requiring air or oxygen. Most often, anaerobic is used to define a cell or organism that lives without oxygen. The term may also be used to describe a process or function that occurs without air.

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The word anaerobic is from the French word, anaérobie, coined by Louis Pasteur in 1863. It is from the Greek an- ("without") + aer ("air") + bios ("life"). The opposite word is "aerobic," meaning requiring oxygen or air.

In humans, anaerobic organisms are typically found in the gastrointestinal tract. Some anaerobic bacteria produce important toxins.

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  • Q:

    What is anaerobic respiration?

    A:

    Anaerobic respiration is a type of respiration that takes place in the absence of oxygen and aerobic respiration. The steps of anaerobic respiration have some similarities to aerobic respiration. Both forms start their process with glycolysis, which is the beginning of carbohydrate catabolism, or the breakdown of larger molecules into smaller ones.

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  • Q:

    What organisms use anaerobic respiration?

    A:

    Unicellular microorganisms, called obligate anaerobes, strictly use anaerobic respiration for energy production. Common examples of obligate anaerobes are some species of bacteria, such as Clostridium tetani, Clostridium botulinum, Clostridium perfringens, Clostridium sporogenes and Clostridium difficile.

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  • Q:

    What are examples of anaerobic respiration?

    A:

    Examples of anaerobic respiration include nitrate reduction, denitrification, sulfate reduction and carbonate reduction. All of these methods use an electron acceptor other than oxygen and have a membrane-bound electron transport system. These anaerobic mechanisms also synthesize adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, through ATP synthase.

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  • Q:

    How does an anaerobic jar work?

    A:

    An anaerobic jar works when an individual places water, sodium borohydride, sodium bicarbonate and citric acid in a sealed jar along with some microorganisms. The solutions react due to a palladium catalyst to form hydrogen, carbon dioxide and condensation, using up the oxygen to create an oxygen-free or anaerobic environment.

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