Cells use cellular respiration to acquire energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate, the energy currency of life) by breaking down nutrient molecules. Specifically, this process involves extracting ATP from the food consumed, which is usually in the form of glucose.
Chemical Reaction of Cellular Respiration
Most of the chemical processes involved in cellular respiration include oxidation reactions and reduction reactions. An oxidation reaction is a reaction that involves the removal of an electron from a compound. (An electron is a negatively charged subatomic particle that moves in orbitals around the atomic nucleus and a compound is a substance made of atoms of two or more elements bonded together in a certain ratio.) A reduction reaction involves the addition of this electron to a compound. It is helpful to remember the function of these reaction pairs using the acronym LEO GER ("LEO the lion goes GER"); LEO stands for "loses electrons oxidized," and GER stands for "gains electrons reduced." This reaction involving the transfer of electrons between two atoms or molecules is called a redox reaction. Oxidation and reduction reactions always occur together.