Importance of Biochemistry

Cellular Respiration Definition Equation Steps and Formula

Characteristics of cellular respiration

What is Cellular Respiration?

Cellular Respiration is a process that is responsible for extracting the chemical energy that accumulates in the molecules of various organic substances, such as lipids and carbohydrates.

In this article, We’ll discuss:

  • General equation of cellular respiration
  • Importance
  • Types of cellular respiration
  • Anaerobic respiration
  • Aerobic Breathing


  • Cellular respiration is the process of converting the chemical bonds of energy-rich molecules that can be used in vital processes.
  • It can be of two types, anaerobic respiration (without oxygen intervention) and aerobic respiration (with oxygen intervention).
  • Cellular respiration is the process of obtaining energy most used by living beings. In breathing, the release of carbon dioxide, energy, and water and the consumption of oxygen and glucose, or other organic substance, such as lipids, are produced.
  • The organelle responsible for this breathing is the mitochondria.
  • Cellular respiration is carried out only in the cell.
  • Cellular respiration consists of the following stages: Glycolysis, Krebs cycle, Respiratory chain, and Oxidative phosphorylation.

General equation of cellular respiration

C6H12O6 + 6 O2 → 6 CO2 + 6 H2O + energy

You can see in this equation that glucose degrades, producing simpler substances such as H2O and CO2. However, it should be mentioned that this rupture occurs gradually, without altering the vitality of the cell.

Through the aerobic process, breathing is carried out in three phases: respiratory chain (in the mitochondrial ridges), Krebs cycle (in the mitochondrial matrix), and glycolysis (in the hyaloplasm).

Importance of Cellular Respiration

When breathing, a large amount of the chemical energy that is released in the oxidation of organic matter is transformed into heat. This heat production helps maintain body temperature at levels compatible with life, compensating for the heat that an organism normally gives to the environment, especially on cold days.

In this process, the oxidation of high-energy organic compounds is verified, producing carbon dioxide and water, in addition to the release of energy, which is used to produce different forms of cellular work.

The cytoplasmic organ responsible for this breathing mechanism is the mitochondria, which act as a true power plant.

Types of cellular respiration

Anaerobic respiration

Anaerobic respiration is a series of reactions whose purpose is to break the sugar to not use O2 for this purpose, and glycolysis and fermentation are classic examples of this process. It is produced in the cytosol of cells and is not a very efficient way to generate ATP.

This is because at the end of the process very little energy is generated, more specifically, one mole of glucose ends up generating only two moles of ATP. Although it is not an efficient process, it is very important. This is because there are organisms that do not support oxygen, that is, for these organisms oxygen is extremely toxic.

In addition, it should be noted that in remote times in the history of life there was not enough oxygen available in the atmosphere for use.

Aerobic respiration

Aerobic respiration, in turn, is a much more robust and efficient process that is discussed above and energy is obtained by using oxygen as a component of the process, as, for example, in oxidative phosphorylation. This process occurs in the mitochondria of the cells and uses one of the products of glycolysis, pyruvate.

Thus, this way of obtaining energy ends up generating thirty-six moles of ATP from one mole of glucose. Finally, cellular respiration, whether aerobic or anaerobic, is about the events that are performed to generate energy for the cell.

In this way, they are events that allowed the appearance and development of life from the most remote times to the present day.

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