Question Video: Stating the Overall Word Equation for Aerobic Respiration Biology

Not including energy / ATP, state the correct word equation for aerobic respiration.


Video Transcript

Not including energy or ATP, state the correct word equation for aerobic respiration.

This question is asking us to recall the word equation for aerobic respiration. Since our final product will be a word equation, while knowing the chemical symbols will come in handy, we’re not going to include them in our final answer. Another thing we’ve been told not to include is energy or ATP in this word equation. So while we know that they’re the purpose of aerobic respiration, we’re gonna go ahead and leave them out of our answer. Our final word equation should have the reactants for aerobic respiration on the left side of an arrow and the products on the right.

In order to answer this question, let’s review what we know about aerobic respiration. Here, we see our busy biology student. They are breathing, they’re eating an apple as a healthy snack, and their heart is beating, pumping blood all throughout their body. And all of these things are essential to the process of aerobic respiration. Cellular respiration is the process of breaking down nutrients for energy. And every living organism carries out some form of cellular respiration. And the word aerobic means that this is specifically a type of cellular respiration that uses oxygen. So we know that our reactants have to include some type of nutrients as well as oxygen.

Let’s take a closer look at our student and his cells. Our student receives their nutrients from the food they eat. They’re broken down in the small intestine and absorbed into the bloodstream, where they’re transported to our cells primarily in the form of glucose. Our student also breathes in oxygen from the air, which enters the lungs and is absorbed into the bloodstream, which distributes it to the cells of our bodies. Recall that each cell contains mitochondria, which are bean-shaped organelles that are the site of cellular respiration. They possess a folded inner membrane and several different types of enzymes that facilitate the complex metabolic reactions that allow them to convert oxygen and glucose into carbon dioxide and water and releasing energy that’s used to form ATP, which is a molecule that powers almost all of our cells’ essential functions.

The water is largely recycled, but the carbon dioxide diffuses out of the cells and back into the bloodstream, which carries it back to the lungs, where it’s removed from our bodies when we exhale. So breathing takes in oxygen and removes carbon dioxide, eating provides nutrients, especially glucose, and your circulatory system, driven by your heart, carries all of these materials from place to place, which allows our cells to make the ATP that provides the cellular energy that they use to do their jobs. So in response to our question, aerobic respiration is the process of converting oxygen and glucose into carbon dioxide and water, which releases energy to power our cells.

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