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Cellular Respiration and Photosynthesis Problem Solving Discussion

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The relationship between photosynthesis and cellular respiration is such that the products of one system are the reactants of the other. Photosynthesis involves the use of energy from sunlight, water and carbon dioxide to produce glucose and oxygen. Cellular respiration uses glucose and oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and water

To emphasize this point even more, the equation for photosynthesis is the opposite of cellular respiration.

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Cellular respiration by itself refers to the process of drawing energy from food and organic molecules for use. This is done by several reactions that are dependent upon each other. Similar to breathing, whereas as humans inhale oxygen, and exhale carbon dioxide, the process of cellular respiration is the exchange of oxygen to help break down the fuel which is defined as an aerobic process. This process is done by cells exchanging gases with its surroundings in order to create adenosine triphosphate (commonly references as ADT), which ultimately is used by the cells as a source of energy. This process is done through several reactions and is thus an example of a metabolic pathway. In a significantly simplified expression, in cellular respiration chemical energy that comes from fuel molecules is converted into ADP. ADP is then joined with a phosphate, which then converts into ATP, the energy currency of cells. When ATP is consumed or spent by the cells, it releases another phosphate, when will then join with ADP again, to renew the cycle. This entire cycle can be identified by three main stages: glycolysis, the citric acid cycle, and the electron transport. The metabolic pathway that forms within the cytosol is defined as Glycolysis. During this state, one of the molecules of glucose divides into two molecules of pyruvate, which is occurs within the cytoplasmic fluid. To do this a glucose molecule breaks in half to create two three-carbon molecules by using ATP molecules

The newly split carbon molecules then provide electrons to NAD+ to form NADH, and simultaneously creating four additional ATP molecules. Afterwards the pyruvic acid will then lose a carbon molecule, changing into Acetic acid and beginning the citric acid cycle, in which the glucose is further broken down to CO2, an unneeded product, essentially waste. Afterwards, the enzymes used in this process dissolve within the mitochondria, in effect recycling on a molecular level. NADH is generated as the fuel oxidizes. Following that, CoA is created as each of the remaining acetic acid molecules attach to molecules named “coenzyme A” and then are delivered to the first reaction of the citric acid cycle. It is at this point that the CoA is removed and then recycled to re-attach to another acetic molecule all over again. While in this cycle, the acetic acid combines with additional carbon molecules to become citric acid. Each time one of these molecules starts the cycle as fuel two additional co2 molecules are “Wasted”. This process is done once for each glucose molecule. The third stage in this process is the electron transport. During this phase, electrons obtained by the reactions completed in the first two stages travel down transport chains to oxygen. Within the inner membrane of the mitochondria is where the proteins and molecules that are the essence of this chain are located. This transport process is where the majority of the energy released creates ATP. A small amount of ATP is also created during the first two stages as well. ATP is the key to this entire process, as certain amounts of it are created in every step, and simultaneous also spent in each step as well. This creates a self-sustaining cellular cycle of energy production and use. Photosynthesis is similar to cellular respiration, in that it is a process of obtaining energy. However, while cellular respiration is completed through animals (and some plants) by converting food and organic molecules to energy, photosynthesis is the process of converting energy from light sources, namely the sun, into chemical energy for plants, algae, and some bacteria’s. Photosynthesis is a process that occurs within organelles called chloroplasts. These organelles are able to absorb light, and are located inside of leaves. Within the leaf are tiny pores defined as stomata, in which carbon dioxide can enter, and oxygen can exit, the reverse process that in which most animals breathe. Just like animals, the process of photosynthesis needs water, although rather than ingested, water is absorbed through the plants roots and carried up to the leaves. The stomata is perhaps the most critical piece to this process, as this is where CO2 enters and can be stored, and where water and O2 exit.

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Cellular respiration is a process that involves the oxidization of food particles to carbon dioxide and water. The process of oxidizing the food particles takes place in two stages: the breakdown of food particles to pyruvic acid and oxidation of pyruvic acid to water and carbon dioxide (Del and Williams 45). Several factors affect the cell respiration rate. Therefore, the purpose of the experiment was to investigate the effects of pollutants on the cellular respiration rate. As such, the objectives of the experiment were to: understand the importance of cellular respiration as a major process of life; understand the chemical equation for cellular respiration; understand the effect of changes in carbohydrate on the respiration rate as determined by the production of carbon dioxide; and to understand how pollutants harm life by interfering with cellular respiration. The experiment was carried out to prove the hypothesis that carbohydrates increase cellular respiration rate as opposed to its absence, evident by the volume of carbon dioxide produced. Moreover, the hypothesis that the presence of a pollutant harms the rate of respiration was investigated by studying the volume of CO2 emitted (Lambers and Miquel 12).

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In brief, the reactants and products in a chemical reaction contain the same atoms, but they are rearranged during the reaction. As a result, the atoms end up in different combinations in the products

This makes the products new substances that are chemically different from the reactants. Photosynthesis is a series of chemical reactions that convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose (sugar) and oxygen in the presence of sunlight.

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Del, Giorgio, and Williams Peter. Respiration in Aquatic Ecosystems. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. Print.

Lambers, Herbert, and Miquel, Ribas. Plant Respiration: From Cell to Ecosystem. Dordrecht: Springer, 2005. Print.

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