Cellular respiration is the set of the metabolic reactions and processes that take place in the cells of organisms to convert biochemical energy from nutrients into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and then release waste products. The reactions involved in respiration are catabolic reactions, which break large molecules into smaller ones, releasing energy in the process as weak so-called "high-energy" bonds are replaced by stronger bonds in the products. Respiration is one of the key ways a cell gains useful energy to fuel cellular activity. Cellular respiration is considered an exothermic redox reaction. The overall reaction is broken into many smaller ones when it occurs in the body, most of which are redox reactions themselves. Although technically, cellular respiration is a combustion reaction, it clearly does not resemble one when it occurs in a living cell. This difference is because it occurs in many separate steps. While the overall reaction is a combustion reaction, no single reaction that comprises it is a combustion reaction.
Nutrients that are commonly used by animal and plant cells in respiration include sugar, amino acids and fatty acids, and a common oxidizing agent (electron acceptor) is molecular oxygen (O2). The energy stored in ATP (its third phosphate group is weakly bonded to the rest of the molecule and is cheaply broken allowing stronger bonds to form, thereby transferring energy for use by the cell) can then be used to drive processes requiring energy, including biosynthesis, locomotion or transportation of molecules across cell membranes.
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