The following equation summarizes the complete oxidation of glucose in cellular respiration:

C6H1206 + 6O2

iniemctcoriMa iniemctcoriMa

In addition to glucose, many other compounds can be used as fuel in cellular respiration. Molecules derived from the breakdown of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates can enter glycolysis or the Krebs cycle at various points in order to yield more energy to an organism.

The equation above can be considered the opposite of the overall equation for photosynthesis, if glucose is considered to be a product of photosynthesis:

6CO2 + 6H2O light energy C6H12O6 + 6O2

That is, the products of photosynthesis are reactants in celluar respiration, and the products of cellular respiration are reactants in photosynthesis. However, cellular respiration is not the reverse of photosynthesis. These two processes involve different biochemical pathways and occur at different sites inside cells.

Another Role of Cellular Respiration

Cellular respiration provides the ATP that all cells need to support the activities of life. But providing cells with ATP is not the only important function of cellular respiration. Cells also need specific organic compounds from which to build the macromolecules that compose their own structures. Some of these specific compounds may not be contained in the food that a heterotroph consumes.

The molecules formed at different steps in glycolysis and the Krebs cycle are often used by cells to make the compounds that are missing in food. Compounds formed during glycolysis and the Krebs cycle can be diverted into other biochemical pathways in which the cell makes the molecules it requires. For example, approximately 10 of the amino acids needed by the human body can be made with compounds diverted from the Krebs cycle.

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