What Are Examples of Aerobic Cellular Respiration?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Apr 2, 2020 12:11:23 AM ET

One of the main examples of aerobic respiration is the formation of the energy source ATP by breaking down the sugar glucose. According to class resources from Clinton Community College, this process is aerobic because it requires oxygen to occur. Throughout the duration of the Krebs cycle and the formation of acetyl CoA, oxygen accepts electrons from NAD and FAD, which eventually produce 34 molecules of ATP.

A common example of aerobic cellular respiration is the body’s conversion of carbohydrates and fat into energy. In other words, when the body metabolizes fat and protein, an aerobic cellular process occurs. According to class notes from the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Department of Biology, the low-carb Atkins diet and South Beach diet are examples of this process. They work by allowing the body to deplete its natural glucose reserves, which forces the body to burn protein and fat for fuel. For instance, when the body’s glucose levels are low, lipase is released to break down fat within its tissues and bloodstream. Eventually, the fat is broken down into a fatty acid, which is converted into acetyl CoA and enters the Kreb cycle to produce at least 32 molecules of ATP.

The process of metabolizing protein occurs in much the same way. In this case, protein is broken down into amino acids, which eventually enter the cellular respiration process directly through the Krebs cycle as acetyl CoA or pyruvate. Once again, the process yields 32 to 38 molecules of glucose.

Plants also go through a process of aerobic cellular respiration because they too require oxygen.