The Fundamental Process of Turning Sugar in Energy

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One of the most fundamental processes of life is the ability to turn sugar into energy. Our cells have the ability to carry out this process both aerobically and anaerobically. Although anaerobic respiration does not produce the amount of energy that aerobic respiration does; it is still a very important process, because it allows cells to turn sugar into useable energy in the absence of oxygen. (Lab 15: Fermentation Experiments: Background) This is done though a process called fermentation. “Fermentation consists of glycolysis plus reactions that regenerate NAD+ by transferring electrons from NADH to pyruvate.” (Campbell and Reece 173-178) There are many different types but we happen to be interested in alcohol fermentation, which is carried out by bacteria and yeast. (Reiner) In alcohol fermentation sugar is broken down and turned into carbon dioxide and ethanol. Knowing this we can measure the amount of carbon dioxide produced and get an idea of how quickly the reaction is running. (Campbell and Reece 173-178) Glucose is one of the most abundant carbohydrates on earth and therefore is generally the sugar involved in fermentation. (Ophardt) It is a monosaccharide with a “six membered ring structure” ("Simple Sugars: Fructose, glucose and sucrose") Fructose and sucrose are two other common simple sugars found in many of the foods we eat. Fructose is very similar to glucose only it is made up of a five membered ring. And sucrose is a disaccharide; it is a combination
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