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Question Video: Defining Anaerobic in the Reactions of Cellular Respiration Biology

Why is glycolysis considered an anaerobic reaction?

01:47

Video Transcript

Why is glycolysis considered an anaerobic reaction? (A) Because oxygen is a key reactant. (B) Because carbon dioxide is produced. (C) Because oxygen is not produced. Or (D) because it does not require oxygen.

Aerobic cellular respiration is the primary process by which plants and animal cells extract energy from sugars. It is different from anaerobic respiration in that it requires oxygen. It is also able to synthesize many more molecules of ATP per molecule of glucose. Aerobic respiration occurs in four stages: glycolysis, the link reaction, the Krebs cycle, and oxidative phosphorylation. The first step in this process is glycolysis.

So why is glycolysis considered an anaerobic reaction? Well, this step occurs in the cytoplasm of the cell and does not depend upon the presence of oxygen. At this point in respiration, glucose is converted into pyruvate molecules. Because oxygen is not a reactant and is therefore not required for glycolysis, this reaction is considered anaerobic. So even though glycolysis is part of aerobic respiration, because this particular reaction doesn’t use oxygen, this stage is considered anaerobic.

Therefore answer choice (D) is correct. Glycolysis is considered an anaerobic reaction as it does not require oxygen.

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