Aerobic respiration requires a continuous supply of oxygen from the air or
water surrounding the organism. Oxygen that is taken in is delivered by the
blood circulatory system to the body cells. In the cells, glucose molecules are
oxidised by oxygen to release energy. Aerobic respiration can be summarised by
the following chemical equation:
Aerobic respiration involves the oxidation of glucose in the presence of oxygen
to carbon dioxide, water and energy. Organisms that respire aerobically are
called aerobic organisms. Aerobic respiration releases all the available energy
stored within the glucose molecules. The entire process does not only involve a
single chemical reaction, but also driven by a sequence of complex biochemical
reactions which are catalysed by the respiratory enzymes. The energy stored
within the glucose molecules are released gradually. This is far more useful to
the organism than a sudden release of energy.
Only a small portion of energy is lost in maintaining the body temperature. A
larger portion of the energy is used to synthesise ATP from ADP and inorganic
phosphate. ATP which is an instant source of energy is the main supply for all
living cells. Each ATP molecule consists of three phosphate groups and the
phosphate bonds can be easily broken down to release energy.
During vigorous exercise such as running a race, the muscles initially
respire aerobically. However, the muscles soon used up all the available oxygen.
In spite of the increased breathing rate and heartbeat rate, the blood cannot
supply oxygen fast enough to meet their requirements. The rate at which oxygen
is used by the muscles exceeds the amount of oxygen supplied by the blood.
The muscles are in a state of oxygen deficiency, and an oxygen debt is incurred.
As such, the muscles obtain extra energy from anaerobic respiration because
oxygen is not available. During... [continues]
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