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GCE A Level

Biology
Energy and respiration

2013-2014

Energy and respiration

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Q 1(a) Describe how ATP is synthesized by oxidative phosphorylation. [June 2012 # 1]


Reduced NAD and reduced FAD are passed to the electron transport chain, where hydrogens are
removed from the two hydrogen carriers and each is split into its constituent hydrogen ion and electron.
Electrons are passed along the ETC and the energy released pumps protons into intermembrane space.
This builds up a proton gradient, therefore protons diffuses back into the mitochondrial matrix through
stalked particles in the membrane as the membranes are impermeable to hydrogen ions. Associated
with each stalked particle is the enzyme ATP synthase, therefore, as the proton passes through the
channel, their electrical potential energy is used to synthesize ATP. ATP is produced from ADP and
inorganic phosphate. The electron is transferred to Oxygen, so is the proton, forming water.
(b) Using examples outline the need for energy in living organisms.
Organisms need energy to stay alive. ATP is the energy currency of the cell as it is the universal
intermediary molecules between energy yielding and energy requiring reactions in a cell.
Energy is taken in the form of light for photosynthesis where the photosynthetic pigments absorb it and
give out excited electrons used to synthesize ATP. In light dependent reactions, water is split by
photolysis which gives out hydrogen ions and electrons to reduce NADP. This ATP and reduced NADP are
used when carbon dioxide is trapped and reduced to carbohydrate in the light independent reactions of
photosynthesis.
Apart from this, energy in the form of chemical energy is used for anabolic reactions such a protein
synthesis, starch formation e.t.c.
Energy is also needed for active transport like sodium-potassium pump for movement of ions, against
the concentration gradient. Mechanical energy is used for movement like muscle contraction and also in
temperature regulation.
Q 2(a) Explain the role of ATP in active transport of ions and in named anabolic reactions. [June 2012 #
2]
ATP provides energy for both active transport and anabolic reactions. In active transport, ATP is needed
to counteract the tendency of the particles to move by diffusion, down the concentration gradient.
When the protein carrier binds to a specific ion, it changes shape. Energy from ATP is needed to change
the shape.
Anabolic reactions are the syntheses of complex substances from simpler ones. They are also energyrequiring reactions. Like formation of glycosidic bonds between monosaccharides to for starch, ester
bonds from fatty acids and glycerol to form lipid and peptide bonds between amino acids to form
polypeptides.
(b) Outline the process of anaerobic respiration in both mammal and yeast cells.
In yeast cells, pyruvate is converted to ethanal by decarboxylation. Ethanal is then reduced by reduced
NAD by the enzyme ethanal dehydrogenase, forming ethanol.
In mammalian cells, pyruvate acts as the hydrogen acceptor and is converted to lactate by the enzyme
lactate dehydrogenase in liver/muscle cells.
The reaction is reversible in mammals but irreversible in yeast. In mammals, it is a single step reaction
but more than 1 in yeast. Reoxidised/Regenerated NAD allows glycolysis to continue.
Q 3(a) Outline the need for energy in living organisms using named examples. [Nov 2010 # 1]
ATP is the energy currency of the cell as it is the universal intermediary molecules between energy
yielding and energy requiring reactions in a cell. Organisms need energy to stay alive.

Energy and respiration

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In plants, light energy is needed for photosynthesis. In light-independent reactions ATP is used to
convert glycerate 3-phosphate into triose phosphate. It is then used to regenerate RUBP. ATP is also
needed for anabolic reactions like protein synthesis, starch formation, triglyceride formation etc.
In mammals, activation energy is needed to activate glucose in glycolysis. Energy from ATP is important
in active transport, to counteract the tendency of the ions to undergo diffusion. For instance in
sodium/potassium pumps.
ATP also plays a major role in movement like muscle contraction and cilia beating. It helps in
endocytosis, exocytosis and also temperature regulation.
(b) Explain the different energy values of carbohydrate, lipid and protein as respiratory substrates.
Lipid provides more energy than either protein or carbohydrate. It consists of 39.4 KJg-1 where as
protein and carbohydrate contains 17.0 and 15.8 KJg-1 respectively.
This is because lipid has relatively more hydrogen atoms in a molecule and hydrogen atoms are used to
generate ATP via the electron transport chain. Most energy comes from the oxidation of hydrogen to
water, using reduced NAD.
Q 4(a) Describe the structure of ATP and the role of ATP as the energy currency in all living organisms.
[Nov 2010 # 3]
ATP is a nucleotide made up of adenine, ribose and three phosphate groups. Loss of a phosphate group
leads to a release of 30.0 Kjmol-1 of energy. When one phosphate group is removed, adenosine
diphosphate (ADP) is formed. This ADP when reacts with inorganic phosphate, forms ATP again. It is a
reversible reaction.
ADP + Pi ----> ATP
The hydrolysis of one ATP molecule releases a small packet of energy that is often just the right size to
fuel a particular step in a process. ATP is a small, water soluble molecule and therefore can be easily
transported around a cell. The rate of interconversion or turnover is enormous. It is estimated that a
resting human uses about 40 Kg of ATP in 24 hours, but at any one time, contains about 5g of ATP.
The cell's energy yielding reactions are linked to ATP synthesis. The ATP is then used by the cell in all
forms of work. ATP is the universal intermediary molecule between energy-yielding and energyrequiring reactions in a cell. In other words, it is the energy currency of the cell. The cell trades in ATP
rather than making use of a number of different intermediates.
ATP acts as an immediate donor of energy to the cell's energy requiring reactions. It is needed in active
transport, during muscle contraction, Calvin cycle e.t.c.
(b) Outline anaerobic respiration in mammalian cells and describe how it differs from anaerobic
respiration in yeast calls.
When free oxygen is not present, hydrogen cannot be disposed off by combination with Oxygen. The
electron transfer chain therefore stops working and no further ATP is formed by oxidative
phosphorylation. Glycolysis however, takes place but the pyruvate formed cannot enter mitochondrion
and so remains in the cytoplasm.
It acts as the hydrogen acceptor and is converted to lactate by the enzyme lactate dehydrogenase.
Again, the NAD is released which allows glycolysis to continue in anaerobic conditions.
Unlike in yeast cells, no decarboxylation takes place in mammalian cells. It is a single step reaction
however, in yeast cells; pyruvate is first converted into ethanal and then ethanol. The conversion of
pyruvate to lactate is a reversible reaction. The lactate produced diffuses into the blood and is carried in
solution in blood plasma to the liver where it is converted back to pyruvate. This requires extra oxygen
which is known as oxygen dept.

Energy and respiration

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Q 5(a) Describe the process of glycolysis. [Nov 2009 # 1]


Glycolysis takes place in the cytoplasm of a cell. A Glucose molecule is first phosphorylated using 2 ATPs.
This produces a hexose biphosphate molecule, which splits into two triose phosphate molecules. Each
triose phosphate is converted to a pyruvate molecule. This involves the removal of hydrogens, which are
taken up by the coenzyme NAD. The removal of hydrogens is an oxidation reaction, also known as
dehydrogenation. This produces reduced NAD. During this step, the phosphate groups from the triose
phosphates are added to ADP to produce a small yield of ATP. Overall, two molecules of ATP are used
and four are made, during glycolysis of one glucose molecule, making a net gain of two ATPs per
glucose.
(b) Describe the structure of ATP and the role of ATP as the energy currency in all living organisms.
Refer Q 4 (a)
Q 6(a) Outline the main features of the Krebs cycle. [Nov 2009 # 2]
Acetyl coenzyme A combines with a four-carbon compound, oxaloacetate to form a six-carbon
compound citrate. The citrate is decarboxylated and dehydrogenated in a series of steps, to yield carbon
dioxide, which is given off as a waste gas and hydrogens which are accepted by the carriers NAD and
FAD, producing reduced NAD and reduced FAD. These steps all takes place in the matrix of the
mitochondrion, and each is controlled by specific enzymes.
Oxaloacetate is regenerated to combine with another acetyl coenzyme A. For each turn of the cycle, two
carbon dioxide molecules are produced, one FAD and three NAD molecules are reduced and one ATP
molecule is generated via an intermediate compound. [Diagram just for reference]
Acetyl coenzyme A

coenzyme A

Oxaloacetate (4C)

Citrate (6C)

2 x Reduced NAD

CO2

Krebs cycle
NAD

2 x NAD
Reduced NAD

Reduced FAD
CO2

FAD
ATP

ADP + Pi
4

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(b) Explain the role of NAD in aerobic respiration.


NAD is a coenzyme for dehydrogenase. It can accept a hydrogen ion and two electrons. Thereby
becoming reduced. It carries electrons and protons from Krebs cycle and glycolysis to ETC. The reduced
NAD can be regenerated. ATP is produced.
Q 7(a) Describe the process of oxidative phosphorylation in the mitochondrion. [June 2008]
Refer Q1 (a)
(b) Explain the roles of NAD in anaerobic respiration in both plants and animals.
In animals, when free oxygen is not present, hydrogen cannot be disposed of by combination with
Oxygen. The electron transfer chain therefore stops working and no further ATP is formed by oxidative
phosphorylation. Glycolysis however, takes place but the pyruvate formed cannot enter mitochondrion
and so remains in the cytoplasm.
It acts as the hydrogen acceptor and is converted to lactate by the enzyme lactate dehydrogenase.
Again, the NAD is released which allows glycolysis to continue in anaerobic conditions.
Unlike in plant cells, no decarboxylation takes place in mammalian cells. It is a single step reaction
however, in plant cells; pyruvate is first converted into ethanal and then ethanol. The conversion of
pyruvate to lactate is a reversible reaction. The lactate produced diffuses into the blood and is carried in
solution in blood plasma to the liver where it is converted back to pyruvate. This requires extra oxygen
which is known as oxygen dept.
Q 8 Describe the process of oxidative phosphorylation. [Nov 2006]
Refer Q1 (a)
Q 9(a) Outline the main features of the Krebs cycle. [Nov 2004]
Refer Q 6 (a)
(b) Explain the role of NAD in aerobic respiration.
Refer Q 6 (b)