Biology Tutor Video: Fermentation

Every biology tutor loves fermentation.

However, teaching this important concept can be a challenge. I'm starting from the premise that a student already knows how aerobic respiration works. If a biology tutor can help a student understand aerobic respiration, then the rest is easy.

Aerobic respiration is the gold standard. It's the most efficient form of respiration, and the one that is used by all mammals--including us.

Once you understand aerobic respiration, it's simple to understand variations of respiration, and thus we have this biology tutor video on aerobic respiration:

Aerobic respiration can yield up to 16 times as much ATP as fermentation, but it requires oxygen. When you exercise hard, you're using up ATP faster your lungs can supply the oxygen for aerobic respiration. As a result, your muscles resort to fermentation.

Of course, every biology tutor can tell you that fermentation serves other purposes as well. In the biology tutor video above, I've included a demonstration of alcohol fermentation as carried out by yeast. The carbon dioxide bubbles releases are what causes bread to rise.

Somebody asked me, "where does the oxygen come from in the carbon dioxide if fermentation is anaerobic?"

Good question. remember that glucose is a carbohydrate. Each molecule of glucose contains six oxygen molecules.

Anyway, I'm planning to start using more videos that connect an aspect of biology with the real modern world. You'll see a lot of this in the regular weekly tips, if you sign up for them.

In the meantime, here are some quick take-aways for those of you who need a biology tutor:

  • Respiration is the production of ATP using the chemical energy in carbohydrates
  • The most efficient form of respiration is aerobic respiration
  • Many organisms use fermentation, which doesn't require an external source of oxygen, and human muscle cells use this as well when oxygen levels are low

 

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