An electron transport chain (ETC) couples electron transfer between an electron donor (such as NADH) and an electron acceptor (such as 2O) with the transfer of ions+H (protons) across a membrane. The resulting electrochemical proton gradient is used to generate chemical energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Electron transport chains are the cellular mechanisms used for extracting energy from sunlight in photosynthesis and also from redox reactions, such as the oxidation of sugars (respiration).
In chloroplasts, light drives the conversion of water to oxygen and +NADP to NADPH with transfer of H+ ions across chloroplast membranes. In mitochondria, it is the conversion of oxygen to water, NADH to NAD+ and succinate to fumarate that are required to generate the proton gradient. Electron transport chains are major sites of premature electron leakage to oxygen, generating superoxide and potentially resulting in increased oxidative stress.
Cellular respiration is the set of the metabolic reactions and processes that take place in the cells of organisms to convert biochemical energy from nutrients into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and then release waste products. The reactions involved in respiration are catabolic reactions, which break large molecules into smaller ones, releasing energy in the process as weak so-called "high-energy" bonds are replaced by stronger bonds in the products. Respiration is one of the key ways a cell gains useful energy to fuel cellular activity. Cellular respiration is considered an exothermic redox reaction. The overall reaction is broken into many smaller ones when it occurs in the body, most of which are redox reactions themselves. Although technically, cellular respiration is a combustion reaction, it clearly does not resemble one when it occurs in a living cell. This difference is because it occurs in many separate steps. While the overall reaction is a combustion reaction, no single reaction that comprises it is a combustion reaction.
Nutrients that are commonly used by animal and plant cells in respiration include sugar, amino acids and fatty acids, and a common oxidizing agent (electron acceptor) is molecular oxygen (O2). The energy stored in ATP (its third phosphate group is weakly bonded to the rest of the molecule and is cheaply broken allowing stronger bonds to form, thereby transferring energy for use by the cell) can then be used to drive processes requiring energy, including biosynthesis, locomotion or transportation of molecules across cell membranes.
The citric acid cycle — also known as the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA cycle), or the Krebs cycle, — is a series of chemical reactions used by all aerobic organisms to generate energy through the oxidation of acetate derived from carbohydrates, fats and proteins into carbon dioxide and chemical energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). In addition, the cycle provides precursors of certain amino acids as well as the reducing agent NADH that is used in numerous other biochemical reactions. Its central importance to many biochemical pathways suggests that it was one of the earliest established components of cellular metabolism and may have originated abiogenically.
The name of this metabolic pathway is derived from citric acid (a type of tricarboxylic acid) that is consumed and then regenerated by this sequence of reactions to complete the cycle. In addition, the cycle consumes acetate (in the form of acetyl-CoA) and water, reduces +NAD to NADH, and produces carbon dioxide as a waste byproduct. The NADH generated by the TCA cycle is fed into the oxidative phosphorylation (electron transport) pathway. The net result of these two closely linked pathways is the oxidation of nutrients to produce usable chemical energy in the form of ATP.
Diphosphopyridine nucleotide (DPN+), Coenzyme I
Carbohydrate catabolism is the breakdown of carbohydrates into smaller units. Carbohydrates literally undergo combustion to retrieve the large amounts of energy in their bonds. Energy is secured by mitochondria in the form of ATP.
There are several different types of carbohydrates: polysaccharides (e.g., starch, amylopectin, glycogen, cellulose), monosaccharides (e.g., glucose, galactose, fructose, ribose) and the disaccharides (e.g., maltose, lactose).
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the usable form of chemical energy for muscular activity. It is stored in most cells, particularly in muscle cells. Other forms of chemical energy, such as that available from the foods we eat, must be transferred into ATP form before they can be utilized by the muscle cells.