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What factors affect the rate of cellular respiration?

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Quick Answer

Aerobic cellular respiration rates vary according to three main factors: the amount of nutrients available to the cell, the specific type of cell and the ambient temperature. All three factors affect the rate at which respiration takes place, according to UC Clermont College.

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Full Answer

Aerobic cellular respiration is the process by which a cell converts nutrients into energy through a chemical reaction, according to UC Clermont College. Without the necessary nutrients, such as oxygen, carbon dioxide, or glucose, a cell cannot perform respiration. This means that a cell lacking nutrients has a lower respiration rate than a cell that has access to all the nutrients it requires, states the Journal of Experimental Botany.

Some types of cells work harder than others; therefore, they require more energy. Productive cells such as neurons, which constantly send information through the nervous system, have higher energy needs than idle cells, such as lipid cells, according to the Journal of Experimental Botany. Therefore, neurons have a higher cellular respiration rate than lipid cells.

The temperature of the environment also affects cellular respiration. The higher the temperature is, the higher the cellular respiration rate is. Heat enhances the cell's ability to convert nutrients into energy by diminishing the amount of work that enzymes have to do. Enzymes are special types of proteins within a cell that do most of the legwork in converting nutrients into energy, according to Mary Freeman of CU Boulder.

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