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Why do plants need mitochondria?

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Quick Answer

Plants need mitochondria because they are essential for the production of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. In addition, the Krebs Cycle and the electron transport chain, two important steps in cellular respiration, take place inside of the mitochondria. During these processes, the plant breaks down glucose to obtain energy, which is then stored as ATP.

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Full Answer

Since ATP production occurs inside of mitochondria, it is the center of the energy production process, which makes it a very important organelle. According to Hartnell College, plants view ATP as an energy currency. Without ATP, plants would not be able to store excess energy for later use. This indicates that plants would not have enough energy to sustain the cell.

Glucose created during photosynthesis is broken down and converted into ATP during the process known as cellular respiration, which partly occurs in mitochondria. The cellular respiration process is made up of three steps: glycolysis, the Krebs Cycle and the electron transport chain. Glycolysis occurs outside of the mitochondria and produces pyruvate and two ATP molecules. Pyruvate then enters the mitochondrial matrix and goes through the Krebs Cycle. During this process, FADH2 and NADH are produced along with two molecules of ATP. Lastly, the FADH2 and NADH are used to create an electron transport chain, which ultimately leads to the production of approximately 32 molecules of ATP.

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