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16 November, 2015 - 15:36

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Discuss the fundamental difference between anaerobic cellular respiration and fermentation
  • Describe the type of fermentation that readily occurs in animal cells and the conditions that initiate that fermentation

In aerobic respiration, the final electron acceptor is an oxygen molecule, \textrm{O}_2. If aerobic respiration occurs, then ATP will be produced using the energy of the high-energy electrons carried by \textrm{NADH} or \textrm{FADH}_2 to the electron transport chain. If aerobic respiration does not occur, \textrm{NADH} must be reoxidized to \textrm{NAD}^+ for reuse as an electron carrier for glycolysis to continue. How is this done? Some living systems use an organic molecule as the final electron acceptor. Processes that use an organic molecule to regenerate \textrm{NAD}^+ from \textrm{NADH} are collectively referred to as fermentation. In contrast, some living systems use an inorganic molecule as a final electron acceptor; both methods are a type of anaerobic cellular respiration. Anaerobic respiration enables organisms to convert energy for their use in the absence of oxygen.