Adenosine Triphosphate Essay

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ADENOSINE TRIPOSPHATE (ATP) All cells use ATP (see figure 1) as the primary energy-carrying primary molecule to which energy from the breakdown of food molecules – carbohydrates, fats & proteins – is transferred, then transferring this energy to cell functions (Vander et al, 1998, p.67). Discovered in 1929, Adenosine 5'-triphosphate (ATP) is primarily known as a multifunctional nucleotide that does not to store energy, but rather transfers it to the intracellular processes that require it (Vander et al. 1998 p.67). The molecular structure of ATP consists of a purine base (adenine), attached to pentose (ribose) and three phosphate groups. Synthesis of ATP occurs through glycolysis (in cytosol), cellular respiration (in mitochondria) and photosynthesis (in chloroplasts)(Kimball, J 2006). As ATP is extremely rich in chemical energy, it is harnessed for the chemical and mechanical work in association with the growth, maintenance and reproduction of living organisms (May, P 1997). To use an analogy, the ATP molecule can be described as a highly efficient chemical battery - working to distribute energy to the energy-requiring processes throughout the body. Figure 1: Farabee 2007 Figure 1.1: 2007 THE STRUCTURE, PHYSICAL & CHEMICAL PROPERTIES OF ATP The chemical structure of ATP is based upon three components (see Figure 1); ribose: a five Carbon sugar, adenine the base and the string of phosphate groups. The centre component which is a sugar molecule is pentose (ribose) - consisting of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen atoms. Attached to the 1’ carbon atom of ribose is the second group called adenine (the base). Adenine is a purine base because it is made up of carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen atoms, and therefore has double (fused) rings of nitrogen and carbon atoms (Vander et al. 1998, p.31). As Adenine is

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