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How does Chemosynthetic bacteria obtain energy?

  1. Mar 22, 2016 #1
    We all know ATP is responsible for providing energy.But in case of chemosynthetic bacteria they oxidize various inorganic substances such as nitrates,ammonia and use the released energy for ATP production.shouldn't it be the other way round ? I mean ATP should help in producing energy not the energy production should lead to ATP production.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 22, 2016 #2

    Ygggdrasil

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    ATP is not an energy source, but an intermediate molecule that carries energy in the short term. For example, humans ultimately get their energy from the foods they eat. The body burns (i.e. oxidizes) these fuels in order to generate ATP, which then goes on to power various processes within the cell. Similarly, chemosynthetic bacteria oxidize inorganic substances and harness that energy to generate ATP.

    As an analogy, people generally liken ATP to paper money and call ATP the energy "currency" of the cell. You ultimately earn money by producing material goods (i.e. by making a useful product like a chair or an app). You can then trade these goods for money, which can then be used as to pay for a number of other goods and services (whereas you normally would not be able to pay for your lunch with a chair). Similarly, cells "trade" the various food molecules (e.g. cabohydrates, fats, amino acids) into ATP molecules, and can use these ATP molecules to power a number of other cellular processes (so that these enzymes don't need to handle many different types of food molecules).
     
  4. Mar 22, 2016 #3
    Beautiful example ! Thank you !
     
  5. Mar 30, 2016 #4
    Just one question.How do you say that oxidizing inorganic substances can produce energy ?
     
  6. Mar 30, 2016 #5

    Ygggdrasil

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    In general, this statement is not true, but for the inorganic substances that these bacteria use as energy sources (hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, hydrogen, etc.), the oxidation of these compounds produces energy. It all has to do with the reduction potentials of the compounds involved. If the species gaining electrons has a higher reduction potential than the species losing electrons, the reaction will occur spontaneously its free energy can be used to power other processes.
     
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