Why do cells need oxygen


Why do cells need oxygen
Credit:Michaela BegsteigerMichaela BegsteigerGetty Images

Oxygen is used by many cells to process energy resources, and oxygen-based metabolism is the most efficient, but not all cells require it. A few that live in low-oxygen environments do not use it at all, and it is often toxic to these organisms. Fermentation is an example of cells using energy sources without oxygen, but it is far less efficient than cellular respiration.

Oxygen is actually a dangerous chemical in general, and while the cells that use it benefit from it greatly, they must also have defenses against its toxic effects. Oxygen is useful because it reacts strongly with the carbon and hydrogen in glucose, but these are major components of cellular DNA and protein structures as well, all of which can be attacked and destroyed by oxygen. This is particularly true in the case of free radicals, highly reactive singular oxygen atoms that are constantly produced by cellular respiration.

Related Articles
  • Why do cells need energy
    Credit:Henrik JonssonE+Getty ImagesEven though cells in complex organisms serve specific purposes, they are alive by all accepted definitions of life. ...
  • Humans need oxygen to provide nutrients to all of the cells in their bodies. If tissues and cells go without oxygen, then they begin to die quickly. F ...
  • Why do humans need oxygen to live
    Credit:Matt CarrThe Image BankGetty ImagesThe human body relies on energy produced by its cells. This energy converts glucose and oxygen into ATP, whi ...
  • Why do humans need oxygen
    Credit:craftvisionVettaGetty ImagesOxygen allows the cell respiration and metabolism necessary for the growth of tissues, the conversion of food to en ...
  • When wood is heated to about 300 degrees Fahrenheit, the heat begins to break down the cellulose, releasing volatile gases. When the gases reach about ...
You Might Also Like