What is the correct equation for cellular respiration?


Quick Answer

The equation for cellular respiration is C6H12O6 +6O2 ? 6H2O + 6CO2 + energy. One glucose molecule and six oxygen molecules start the process, and the end result is six water molecules, six carbon dioxide molecules and energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP.

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Full Answer

Cellular respiration is the process through which organisms create energy in the form of ATP, which fuels the cellular life processes for aerobic organisms. Cellular respiration begins in the cytosol with glycolysis, the process that breaks glucose down into two pyruvate molecules. These two molecules then move inside a mitochondrion, which is a bean-shaped organelle with a great deal of surface area due to the internal folding of its inner membrane. Here they enter the Krebs cycle, during which they produce two ATP molecules and release carbon dioxide as a waste product. The products of the Krebs cycle then enter the final step of respiration, which occurs through the mitochondrial membrane.

The electron transport chain, or ETC, uses a gradient of hydrogen atoms to create nearly 30 molecules of ATP and six molecules of water. The exact number of ATP molecules created through the ETC per two pyruvate molecules varies because the efficiency of cellular processes varies.

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