Biology: glycolysis: the first step in producing energy from glucose

The tutor gives a few facts about glycolysis.

Glycolysis happens in the cytoplasm of the cell. It takes a glucose molecule (C6H12O6) and reacts it to two pyruvic acid (C3H4O3) molecules. The process involves inputs and outputs of water and other species, which is why the equation doesn’t balance:

C6H12O6 → 2C3H4O3 + 2ATP

The mechanism is actually quite complex; its important concept for high school biology is the equation above.

Interestingly, glycolysis requires an investment of two ATP (energy units), but yields four; hence, the net gain is two ATP.

Putting the process in perspective, the full reaction of glucose to produce CO2 and H2O yields 36 to 38 ATP.

Glycolysis is the beginning of fermentation.


Mader, Sylvia S. Inquiry into Life, 9th ed. Toronto: McGraw-Hill, 2000.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

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