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What does oxidation and reduction mean, and how does it relate to respiration?

Question

What does oxidation and reduction mean, and how does it relate to respiration?

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Step 1

Respiration is a biochemical process occuring in living cells which involves step wise generation of energy by the oxidation of organic compounds. 

Step 2

Oxidation can be defined in three ways:

  • Loss of hydrogen.
  • Gain of oxygen.
  • Loss of electrons.

Either of the above can be considered as oxidation.

For example, 

C + O2 --------> CO2  

In this carbon gains oxygen, so, carbon undergoes oxidation.

CH3CH2OH  (Ethanol) ---------> CH3CHO  (Ethanal) 

In this ethanol has more hydrogen and ethanal has lesser hydrogens than ethanol. So, ethanol has lost hydrogens and is said to be oxidized.

Fe2+ -------------> Fe3+ + e-

In this Fe (II) loses electron to form Fe(III), So, it is said to be oxidized.

Step 3

Reduction can be defined in three ways:

  • Gain of hydrogen.
  • Loss of oxygen.
  • Gain of electrons.

Either of the above can be considered as reduction.

For example, 

2H2 + O2 --------> 2H2O 

In this oxygen gains hydrogen, so, oxygen  undergoes reduction.

CuO + H2 -------> Cu + H2O

In th...

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