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Cover Biochemistry

Aerobic Metabolism II: Electron Transport and Oxidative Phosphorylation  

This chapter analyses how the aerobic lifestyle depends on the large quantities of energy made possible by oxygen, which is also required directly or indirectly for 1000 biochemical reactions that cannot occur under anaerobic conditions. It cites research efforts which have revealed that aerobic organisms have evolved an array of mechanisms that provide protection from the toxic by-products of oxygen metabolism. Many enzymes and antioxidant molecules prevent most oxidative cell damage. The chapter describes oxygen metabolites that are now known to contribute to an array of human disorders that include cancer and heart and neurological diseases. Oxygen has several properties that, when combined, have made possible a highly favourable mechanism for extracting energy from organic molecules.