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A Guide To Cellular Respiration

Updated: Aug 3, 2021

Author: Junghyun (Hannah) Kwon

Editors: Kira Tian

Artist: Jenny Liu

Cellular respiration is a crucial part of our lives that occurs in our cells’ mitochondria: it allows humans and animals to convert the glucose we consume into energy. Its chemical equation can be represented as: C6H12O6 + 6O2 → 6CO2 + 6H2O + energy. There are two types of cellular respiration: aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic cellular respiration occurs when oxygen is present: the process begins with glycolysis, then moves on to the citric acid cycle, followed by the electron transport chain, and finally oxidative phosphorylation. If oxygen is not present—anaerobic cellular respiration—glycolysis is followed by either alcoholic fermentation or lactic acid fermentation. In this article, I will focus on aerobic respiration.