Mitochondria and Cellular Respiration

What is the Mitochondria
The mitochondria also known as “the power house of the cell” plays a major role in cellular respiration. They can be found in eukaryotic cells where they perform aerobic respiration involving a number of reactions. Another important feature one should note about the mitochondria is that it uses ATP for energy supply, ATP means Adenosine Triphosphate. They can be found in large quantities in cells that require large amounts of energy for example liver cells which have approximately 1000 mitochondria and muscle cells.


What is Cellular respiration?
Respiration is a process involving the release of energy through oxidation which can later be used by cells; this energy is in the form of ATP. The biochemical process that occurs in cells is known as cell respiration and when the process takes place in the presence of oxygen it is termed aerobic respiration if oxygen is absent then we can say that anaerobic respiration is taking place.
Many cellular processes take place in the mitochondria such as the Krebs cycle and the electron transport system. Numerous amounts of ATP are produced along the way during these processes. The structure of the mitochondria also contributes greatly to cellular respiration:

  • The inner membrane of a mitochondria is highly folded so that a larger surface area is formed on which respiratory processes can take place.
  • There are numerous amounts of protons present in the mitochondria mainly in the inner membrane space. There is a higher concentration of protons in the inner membrane than in the matrix of the mitochondria, therefore using our knowledge of osmosis and diffusion right away we should probably realize that some form of transfer must happen involving the flow of protons from the area of high concentration to the area of lower concentration. This is where the stalked particles of the mitochondria come in. The role of the stalked particles is to allow the flow of protons back to the matrix of the mitochondria where there are fewer concentrations of protons present.
  • All we've been discussing so far is the transfer of protons, but what about the electrons. By now we should all know that an atom is not only made up of protons but also electrons in this case the atom is hydrogen. What happens is that once the protons have entered the matrix they will then recombine with the electrons to form the hydrogen atom. The hydrogen atom will then combine with oxygen to form water.
  • The membrane of the mitochondria is ion impermeable meaning it doesn't allow ions to pass through therefore active transport is needed for ions to cross.
  • Above we mentioned ATP as a source of energy but how does ATP really come about?... ...Well ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) is made from a combination of ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate) and inorganic phosphate. It is the driving force of the protons as mentioned above that causes ADP to combine with inorganic phosphate.
  • The stalked particles contain the enzyme that catalyzes the reaction. The enzyme is known as Adenosine Triphosphatase.
  • The Phospholipid bi-layer is composed of two layers the first layer comprises hydrophobic tails that are structured inwardly. The other layer comprises hydrophilic heads that are turned outwardly. The head attracts water but rejects any protons present.

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5 Response to Mitochondria and Cellular Respiration

October 3, 2011 at 6:08 AM

I remember studying this while I was at school!

November 10, 2011 at 10:08 AM

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January 30, 2018 at 12:03 AM

Before now, haven't know the real meaning of Cellular Respiration.
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January 30, 2018 at 12:10 AM

Thank you for explaining a nice difference between these two terms.
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May 30, 2018 at 12:28 AM

Yeah right,The biochemical process that occurs in cells is known as cell respiration.
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