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How Glycolysis Works

Why are oxidation and reduction important in cellular respiration? Reduction-oxidation (redox) reactions are important in cellular respiration and other biochemical pathways because redox reactions are a good way to transfer energy from one molecule to another. Reduction is the addition of an electron while oxidation is the removal of an electron. As described in the animation, hydrogen atoms are frequently transferred along with their electrons. Bonds between hydrogen and carbon atoms share electrons equally between the molecules. Bonds between oxygen and hydrogen share electrons unequally, the electrons are much more closely associated with the oxygen. This is a lower energy state.

When wood or gasoline is burned oxygen gas (O2) reacts with the carbon-hydrogen rich molecules. Heat is released and carbon dioxide and water are produced. This is similar to, but much less controlled than, the process of cellular respiration. NAD+ acts as an intermediary, oxidizing the food molecules in a much more controlled fashion. By using NAD+ and the electron transport chain the oxidation of organic molecules can be linked to the production of ATP rather than just the generation of heat.

View the animation below, then complete the quiz to test your knowledge of the concept.

1In glycolysis, glucose is converted to
A)CO2 and H2O.
D)acetyl coA.
E)NAD+ and ADP.

2The NET result of a single glycolysis run is the formation of
A)1 NADH and 1 ATP.
B)2 NADH and 2 ATP.
C)2 NADH and 4 ATP.
D)4 NADH and 2 ATP.
E)4 NADH and 4 ATP.

3Under anaerobic conditions, the end-product of glycolysis is converted to
A)CO2 and H2O.
B)amino acids.
C)lactic acid.
D)hydrochloric acid.
E)acetic acid.

4During glycolysis, a 6-carbon sugar diphosphate molecule is split into two 3-carbon sugar phosphate molecules.

5Under aerobic conditions, the end-product of glycolysis is further reduced to yield more ATP.

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