The Krebs cycle refers to a complex series of chemical reactions that produce carbon dioxide and Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a compound rich in energy. The cycle occurs by essentially linking two carbon coenzyme with carbon compounds; the created compound then goes through a series of changes that produce energy. This cycle occurs in all cells that utilize oxygen as part of their respiration process; this includes those cells of creatures from the higher animal kingdom such as humans. Carbon dioxide is important for various reasons, the main one being that it stimulates breathing, while ATP provides cells with the energy required for the synthesis of proteins from amino acids and the replication of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA); both are vital for energy supply and for life to continue. In short, the Krebs cycle constitutes the discovery of the major source of energy in all living organisms.
Glycolysis literally means “splitting sugars.” In glycolysis, glucose (a six carbon sugar) is split into two molecules of a three-carbon sugar. Glycolysis yields two molecules of ATP (free energy containing molecule), two molecules of pyruvic acid and two “high energy” electron carrying molecules of NADH. Glycolysis can occur with or without oxygen. In the presence of oxygen, glycolysis is the first stage of cellular respiration. Without oxygen, glycolysis allows cells to make small amounts of ATP. This process is called fermentation.
Oxidative phosphorylation (or OXPHOS in short) is a metabolic pathway that uses energy released by the oxidation of nutrients to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Although the many forms of life on earth use a range of different nutrients, almost all aerobic organisms carry out oxidative phosphorylation to produce ATP, the molecule that supplies energy to metabolism. This pathway is probably so pervasive because it is a highly efficient way of releasing energy, compared to alternative fermentation processes such as anaerobic glycolysis.
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