Aerobic glycolysis is the process in which glucose is oxidized to produce two molecules of pyruvate and ATP and NADH are produced, according to The Medical Biochemistry Page. This is the net reaction of aerobic glycolysis.
The pathway of aerobic glycolysis from glucose to pyrvate involves many steps or reactions. Glucose is first converted to glucose-6-phosphate by glucokinase or hexokinase. This process uses one molecule of ATP. Glucose-6-phosphate is then converted to fructose-6-phosphate. This is then converted to fructose-1,6-bisphosphate, in a process that uses another molecule of ATP. Fructose-1,6-bisphosphate is then converted to two molecules of glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate.
Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate is converted to 1,3-bisphosphoglycerate which is then converted to 3-phosphoglycerate. This reaction produces one molecule of ATP. 3-phosphoglycerate is then converted to 2-phosphoglycerate and then phosphoenolpyruvate. Phosphoenolpyruvate is then converted to pyruvate by pyruvate kinase, in a reaction that produces one molecule of ATP.
During the reactions in glycolysis, there is a net production of two molecules of ATP and two molecules of NADH. The NADH generated is used to fuel ATP production by the mitochondria in a process called oxidative phosphorylation, according to The Medical Biochemistry Page.
When there is a lack of oxygen, for example after vigorous exercise, glucose is converted to lactate instead of pyruvate. This process is called anaerobic glycolysis, according to The Medical Biochemistry Page.