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Cellular Respiration Research: Adenosine Tri-Phosphate (Essay Sample)


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18 February 2017
Cellular Respiration
Just as how fossil fuels power up automobiles, ATP (Adenosine Tri-Phosphate) functions as the energy-giving molecule that enables humans and most other living organisms to perform their basic functions in life, such as “synthesis, reproduction, active transport, and temperature control”. However, unlike a machinery which would only stop functioning when it runs out of fuel, living organisms (or at least its higher forms) would cease to exist when ATP disappears from the equation. Thus, because of its crucial role for the survival of human beings as well as of other living things, it is also important to know how ATP is produced, consumed, and what specifically makes it very important for living organisms. To answer this question, it would be best to have a clear insight of what Energy is and where it originates. Basically, energy is measured in living organisms in the currency of ATPs, which is its most basic unit. In turn, ATP’s energy could be measured by how much energy its individual units could release which is approximately 30.6 kj/Mol. When regards to its origins, energy in living organisms could be found in organic molecules, such as fats, carbohydrates, and proteins that they eat. As animals digest these types of molecules from their food, this allows them to transform these molecules into its basic compositions/units (carbohydrates- sugars; fats- lipids; proteins- nucleic acids) for further usage. In it most fundamental use, ATPs functions directly for “anabolic processes, movement of individual molecules, active transport, and as catalyst of reactions, among others”.
But how is ATP gathered from the digestion of molecules? The answer to this question would lie to two general processes: (1) anaerobic respiration and (2) cellular respiration. The first process – anaerobic respiration – refers to the harvesting of ATP without the use of oxygen. Some of the most common examples of anaerobic respiration are Fermentation and Lactic Acid Fermentation (LAF). Both of these anaerobic processes refers to the process of converting sugar into ATP and other by-products. Following from this, Fermentation refers to the process of converting glucose into its by-products which are ATP, CO2, and Alcohol. This process is what factories, bakeries, and breweries would use in order to produce beer, bread, and wine. In contrast to this, LAF is only different because it produces lactic acid and ATP. Although processes this might be beneficial at some instances (e.g. times when there is a shortage of O2), anaerobic respiration is dangerous for the body because it signifies that it is not getting the rig...
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