What is Cellular Respiration?

Cellular Respiration is a difficult topic. And that's even true for the bright, hard-working college freshman students I teach eash year at Brown University. So we've done everything we could think of to make this chapter clear and easier to understand than most other books. We've included carefully-organized step-by-step diagrams, summary figures, and a series of analogies in the text that should help students to understand the basis of respiration. Hope it works for you!

Why Respiration Matters

Respiration is life itself! Stop respiring, and we're done for. What this should tell us is that just about every cell in our bodies requires a constant supply of ATP, and it's got to be generated on a continuous basis - we can't store it up. So the fires of respiration keep running, even while we sleep. When we exercise, we need more ATP, especially in our muscles, and therefore our respiratory rate speeds up. If we need ATP at a rate faster than oxidative phosphorylation can provide it, we switch on lactic acid fermentation, producing a flood of ATP in our muscles. But one way or another, we're always making ATP< using the energy supplied in our food.