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Elementary Science Education

Part 1. What each cell requires to stay alive and do its work

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      Bernard Nebel

      Begin with discussion/Q and A/review: What do cells require in order to carry on their respective jobs? Discussion should include the following categories. 

      Fuel for energy (making ATP from ADP + P) The classic is the oxidation of glucose (C6H12O6 + 6O2 ——-> 6CO2 + 6H2O + energy). Carbohydrates are the major source of glucose; however, fats, lipids, proteins (amino acids) and nucleic acids can all be modified by cell metabolism and fed into the same pathway as for oxidation of glucose. Production of ATP for energy is the number one priority for cell function. Seconds without it and the cell dies. 

      Oxygen: Note and emphasize the necessity of oxygen along with “fuel”.  

      Amino acids: are reqired for the synthesis of proteins, both structural and enzymatic. 

      Vitamines and minerals: A complete list, along with functions,  may me found here:

      Pursue this table only to arouse and address student’s questions and interests. Beyond that, it may be save as an open reference to be consulted as desired.

      Vitamins mostly serve as co-enzymes. This is, they serve along with particular enzymes in catalyzing given reactions. They are complex organic molecules that the body is incapable of synthesizing on its own. Therefore, they must be present in the diet. Their lack, causing failure of particular chemical reactions, results in nutritional disease, listed as noted in the above reference.   

      Minerals: The function of various enzymes depend on an atom of a particular mineral in addition to the protein portion. For example, each hemoglobin molecule, the blood protein essential for carrying oxygen from lungs to body parts, depends on an atom of iron as part of its structure and function. Scroll down in the above reference of find the roles of other mineral elements required. 

      Roles of other elements will become evident in future studies. The major point at this stage is to recognize that these elements and molecules are essential in the diet for proper development and function of the body. Their absence leads to nutritional disease and potential death. 

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