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Glycolysis Process and Its Stages


Glycolysis is a specific process that is known as the first stage of the anaerobic respiration process in plants, during which 6-carbon glucose splits into two molecules of pyruvate, which is 3-carbon, under the impact of enzymes to generate the required energy. This process can be described in two stages and several steps that are associated with each stage. It is also important to note that the process occurs in the cytoplasm of a cell, and its role is to guarantee the respiration under such conditions when oxygen is not available. The paper discusses these steps in detail.

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The Process of Glycolysis

Glycolysis is a process of splitting 6-carbon glucose into two molecules of pyruvate, which is 3-carbon. This process is also known as the Embden-Meyerhof Pathway, and it involves several steps to cover all reactions (Mauseth, 2014, p. 245; Stoker, 2012). The process occurs in the cytosol of the cytoplasm of a cell (Stoker, 2012, p. 907). The significance of the process is in the fact that no oxygen is required for glycolysis, and this process is the first stage of generating or receiving the energy for anaerobic respiration of plants (Stoker, 2012).

During the first stage of glycolysis, the reaction is caused by adding a molecule of adenosine triphosphate or ATP to one of the phosphate groups. As a result, 6-carbon glucose is activated for further splitting (Mauseth, 2014). The result of this process is the glucose-6-phosphate (Mauseth, 2014, p. 247). At this stage, the forms of glucose are rather unstable, and they can further split as glucose becomes converted into fructose (Stoker, 2012). Another molecule of ATP also participates in the reaction while binding the other group of phosphates, and the result of these two reactions is the appearance of two 3-carbon molecules, also including dihydroxyacetone phosphate or DHAP and glyceraldehydes 3-phosphate or PGAL (Mauseth, 2014, p. 246; Stoker, 2012).

During the second stage of the process, DHAP becomes PGAL under the impact of associated processes and enzymes, and it is possible to observe two molecules of PGAL that participate in the reaction of oxidation, during which nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide or NADH is received, and the reaction of substrate-level phosphorylation, during which two molecules of ATP are formed (Stoker, 2012, p. 908). This number of ATP molecules also participated in the first phase of the reactions to activate the whole process. The phosphate groups continue to participate in reactions, and the next step is the process of dehydration (Stoker, 2012). The result of this process is phosphoenolpyruvate. During each step of the discussed two main processes, the reactions are catalyzed. Such enzymes as hexokinase, phosphoglucomutase, and aldolase which participate in different reactions also influence the processes discussed in these phases (Stoker, 2012).

The final result is the generation of four molecules of ATP, where two molecules are used for each of glucose molecules, two molecules of 3-carbon pyruvate, and the generation of two molecules of NADH (Stoker, 2012, p. 909). Still, two molecules of ATP were used for the first stage of the process. Thus, at the final stage, it is possible to speak about the presence of two molecules of ATP and two molecules of 3-carbon pyruvate as the main results of the discussed reactions (Mauseth, 2014, p. 246). These molecules are used to produce the energy for metabolic reactions that are characteristic of the anaerobic respiration process.


Mauseth, J. D. (2014). Botany. New York, NY: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Stoker, H. S. (2012). General, organic, and biological chemistry. New York, NY: Nelson Education.

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