Section 2

Aerobic Respiration

• In eukaryotic cells, the processes of aerobic respiration occur inside the mitochondria. The Krebs cycle occurs in the mitochondrial matrix. The electron transport chain is embedded in the inner mitochondrial membrane.

• In the mitochondrial matrix, pyruvic acid produced in glycolysis is converted into acetyl CoA. Then, acetyl CoA enters the Krebs cycle. Each turn of the Krebs cycle generates three NADH, one FADH2, one ATP, and two CO2 molecules.

• NADH and FADH2 donate electrons to the electron transport chain in the inner mitochondrial membrane. These electrons are passed from molecule to molecule in the transport chain.

• As electrons pass along the electron transport chain, protons donated by NADH and FADH2 are pumped into the space between the inner and outer mitochondrial membranes. This pumping creates a concentration gradient of protons and a charge gradient across the inner mitochondrial membrane. As protons move through ATP synthase, down their concentration and charge gradients, and back into the mitochondrial matrix, ATP is produced.

• During aerobic respiration, oxygen accepts both protons and electrons from the electron transport chain. As a result, oxygen is converted to water.

• Cellular respiration can produce up to 38 ATP molecules from the oxidation of a single molecule of glucose. Thus, up to 39 percent of the energy released by the oxidation of glucose can be transferred to ATP. However, most eukaryotic cells produce only about 36 ATP molecules per molecule of glucose.

• Cellular respiration uses the processes of glycolysis and aerobic respiration to obtain energy from organic compounds.

Vocabulary mitochondrial matrix (p. 137) acetyl CoA (p. 138)

Krebs cycle (p. 138) oxaloacetic acid (p. 138)

citric acid (p. 138) FAD (p. 139)

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