Adding a phosphate group to glucose is called phosphorylation. It is the first step in burning of glucose, a process termed glycolysis. The process involves a series of steps, which can be abbreviated by the following two sequential reactions:
The intermediate three-carbon ion, called pyruvate, has the following molecular structure:
In the presence of oxygen (in the cell), complete conversion to the final end products occurs:
The energy released in the combination of reactions (11.3a) and (11.3b) is 3000 kJ/mole glucose.
The sum of these two partial conversions is seen to be the reverse of reaction (11.1). Reactions (11.3a) and (11.3b) (and the numerous intermediate steps) take place in the cells of the body. Oxygen is carried from the lungs to the cells by hemoglobin. In oxygen-deficient situations, such as muscle overexertion, pyruvate picks up two protons to form lactate:
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