What Is the Chemical Equation for Cellular Respiration?

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  • 0:00 Cellular Respiration
  • 1:04 Chemical Equation
  • 2:06 Balancing the Equation
  • 3:03 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Stephanie Matalone

Stephanie taught high school science and math and has a Master's Degree in Secondary Education.

This lesson will go over the basics of cellular respiration and its chemical equation, discussing how this equation can be balanced and what its reactants and products are.

Cellular Respiration

Take a deep breath, then release the air out. When you do this, you are taking in oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide, two important gasses involved in cellular respiration. Cellular respiration is the process in which cells break down molecules for energy. In order to do this, the cells use that oxygen that you breathe in and produce that carbon dioxide that you breathe out.

Think about when you are hungry and feel lethargic. You feel this way because your body does not have food to turn into energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. In cellular respiration, your body breaks down a sugar called glucose from the food you eat to get that ATP, which provides energy to the rest of your body so it can function.

So let's recap what happens in cellular respiration. Oxygen that you breathe in and glucose from your food are turned into carbon dioxide that you breathe out, water that you urinate and sweat out, and energy in the form of ATP.

Cellular Respiration
Cellular Respiration

Chemical Equation

A chemical equation is a short way to represent a chemical reaction, the process in which substances are turned into other substances. During this process, atoms are rearranged but nothing new is made and nothing is destroyed.

The reactants in a chemical reaction are the substances that are used in the reaction and are turned into something else. Reactants show up on the left side of the equation before the arrow. The products of a chemical reaction are the substances that are made and show up on the right side of the equation, after the arrow.

Reactants and Products
Reactants and Products

Chemical equations use chemical formulas in a visual representation of the reaction. Chemical formulas represent a molecule with element symbols and numbers. C represents carbon, H represents hydrogen, and O represents oxygen. The small numbers after the letters show how many atoms of an element are present in the molecule. In order to make the chemical equation, the names of the reactants and products need to be replaced with their chemical formulas.

Chemical Formulas
Chemical Formulas

Chemical Equation for Cellular Respiration
Chemical Equation for Cellular Respiration

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