Factors Affecting Cellular Respiration

Factors Affecting Cellular Respiration

Cellular respiration is the conversion of nutrients into energy. Alternatively, it is the breakdown of food to produce energy for cells. Fats and glucose are some of the nutrients, which undergo this process. Cells need this energy for different activities including growth and cell division. In animals, energy is important in muscle cell contraction while in nerve cells, energy transmits nerve impulses, which are responsible for coordination. In the presence of oxygen, living things carry out aerobic respiration. Still, animals, plants and yeast cells experience respiration in the absence of oxygen. This is called anaerobic respiration or fermentation. Thus, cellular respiration is an essential process in living things and happens under various conditions. Below are factors affecting cellular respiration in plants and animals.

Nutritional factors affecting cellular respiration

The amount of nutrients present has a bearing on the process of cellular respiration. Importantly, the more the nutrients, the more the energy because of cell respiration. However, not all nutrients will result into respiration and generate energy. Common nutrients, which aid the process of cellular respiration are fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Amino acids and fatty acids also belong to this category of essential nutrients.

During the conversion process, carbohydrates convert to glucose while fats undergo the citric acid cycle as proteins breakdown and go through a process called glycolysis. It is clear that plants and animals have varying levels of nutrients available for cellular respiration. The level of nutrients in a living cell depends on the diet. For human beings, what you eat determines the nutrients that will be present to allow respiration to take place. This explains why it is important to stick on a balanced diet that supplies your body with all the necessary nutrients at all times.

Besides nutritional factors affecting cellular respiration in plants and animals, water also influences the process. For example, water in dry seeds is always responsible for low rates of respiration in cells. In addition, in wilted tissues, starch is transformed into sugars, making it available to allow the process of respiration to occur. However, in cells that are well hydrated, a slight change in water content might not affect respiration at all.

How temperature influences cellular respiration

The environment within which plants and animals are largely affect cellular respiration. An important element of the environment is temperature. This refers to the degree of warmth of coldness of the environment. Warm temperature speeds up the rate of cellular respiration while low temperature slows the process. This explains why people in warm regions restore their lost energy easily as long as their bodies have enough nutrients to change to energy.

Temperature also affects enzymatic activities in the cell. In particular, enzymes act faster when temperatures are higher such that the nutrients would be broken down into energy within a shorter time as compared to when temperatures are low. It is important to note that temperature only affects the rate of cellular respiration and not the amount of energy generated during the process. While temperature affects respiration, very high temperatures are harmful to the cell. Thus, the environment constitutes a wide range of factors affecting cellular respiration in living things.

Internal factors affecting cellular respiration

For cellular respiration to take place optimally, there has to be a balance between the cell and the environment within which the plant or animal exists. Therefore, another factor that has a direct bearing on the rate of respiration is the state of the cell. In most cases, this factor works based on cell activity. In such, cells that are more active experience higher rates of cellular respiration as compared to less active cells. For instance, in human beings, working cells, such as those that occur in the brain or roots of human hair experience higher respiration than inert ones like seeds.

The explanation for this is that working cells have the ability to retain extra energy in the body as opposed to dormant cells, which always remain non-motile. Thus, plant cells do not need more stored energy as compared to animal or human cells. It also justifies the difference in cellular respiration in plants and in animals. Other factors affecting cellular respiration include oxygen, carbon dioxide, light, respiratory substrates, stimulation and inhibitors, among others.


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