Lessons from our school days, long since for­got­ten

The Simple Things - - MISCELLANY -


First up: respiration is not the same as breath­ing (that’s tech­ni­cally ven­ti­la­tion), al­though they are linked. It’s a chem­i­cal re­ac­tion that hap­pens in all liv­ing cells, and the way that en­ergy is re­leased from glu­cose. It’s when glu­cose and oxy­gen re­act to­gether in cells to pro­duce car­bon diox­ide and wa­ter, and re­lease en­ergy. Be­cause it uses oxy­gen, it’s all aer­o­bic respiration. There’s also anaer­o­bic respiration. So, when you’re work­ing very hard (try­ing to get your head around bi­o­log­i­cal terms doesn’t count), the heart can’t get enough oxy­gen around the body. Anaer­o­bic respiration gives you en­ergy, but a lot less, from glu­cose, but also pro­duces lac­tic acid as a waste prod­uct, which in turn leads to cramp (ouch). There is, how­ever, a sort of anaer­o­bic respiration that we do like. Yeast per­forms an anaer­o­bic process – it’s called fer­men­ta­tion and brings us beer and bread. Respiration and re­fresh­ment. Bril­liant.

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