Q:

Why is cellular respiration important?

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Quick Answer

Faculty resources from Thomas Nelson Community College explain that cellular respiration is the process by which cells produce adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. ATP is the molecule that carries energy for the cells of an organism, and it functions as a “currency” for the cells in an organism. Cells cannot store ATP; instead, they must produce it continuously or the organism will die.

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Why is cellular respiration important?
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Full Answer

Cellular respiration is usually divided into three distinct parts, according to the resources from Thomas Nelson Community College. The first part of cellular respiration is called glycolysis, in which glucose is broken into pieces called pyruvate. Next, the Kreb’s cycle breaks down the carbon bonds and produces the waste gas that animals exhale, carbon dioxide. The final step in the cycle is called electron transport and oxidative phosphorylation. Though not necessary for the first two steps, in this part of the process, oxygen is necessary and used to produce ATP.

Cells primarily engage in cellular respiration in small organelles called mitochondria. Mitochondria are the energy producers of the cell. To engage in the process of cellular respiration, mitochondria require a supply of oxygen. According to Thomas Nelson Community College, all eukaryotes, including plants, require oxygen. Other energy-producing pathways exist besides cellular respiration, including fermentation and anaerobic metabolism.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are the end products of cellular respiration?

    A:

    The end products of cellular respiration are adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, molecules that the cell uses for a variety of processes. Cellular respiration yields 38 ATP molecules in prokaryotes and 36 ATP molecules in eukaryotes.

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  • Q:

    Which organelle is the site of cellular respiration?

    A:

    The mitochondria of the eukaryotic cells are the sites of cellular respiration and where most of the steps take place. Cellular respiration allows for the release of energy stored in chemical bonds of glucose (obtained from food) to form adenosine triphosphate, which is the energy currency of the cell.

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  • Q:

    What are the reactants of cellular respiration?

    A:

    Glucose and oxygen are the reactants of cellular respiration. In the presence of oxygen, the chemical bonds in glucose break down, creating a form of energy known as ATP that is used by cells to perform their daily functions. Water and carbon dioxide are also formed when glucose and oxygen react, but these products are expelled from the body as waste.

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  • Q:

    What happens during cellular respiration?

    A:

    During cellular respiration, glucose breaks down into carbon dioxide and water. This process releases a store of energy, or ATP, that cells can use for their needs.

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