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Biology: Energy Release from Sugar: A Demo


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About this Lesson

  • Type: Video Tutorial
  • Length: 2:29
  • Media: Video/mp4
  • Use: Watch Online & Download
  • Access Period: Unrestricted
  • Download: MP4 (iPod compatible)
  • Size: 26 MB
  • Posted: 07/01/2009

This lesson is part of the following series:

Biology Course (390 lessons, $198.00)
Biology: Respiration (17 lessons, $28.71)
Biology: An Introduction to Respiration (6 lessons, $10.89)

Taught by Professor George Wolfe, this lesson was selected from a broader, comprehensive course, Biology. This course and others are available from Thinkwell, Inc. The full course can be found at The full course covers evolution, ecology, inorganic and organic chemistry, cell biology, respiration, molecular genetics, photosynthesis, biotechnology, cell reproduction, Mendelian genetics and mutation, population genetics and mutation, animal systems and homeostasis, evolution of life on earth, and plant systems and homeostasis.

George Wolfe brings 30+ years of teaching and curriculum writing experience to Thinkwell Biology. His teaching career started in Zaire, Africa where he taught Biology, Chemistry, Political Economics, and Physical Education in the Peace Corps. Since then, he's taught in the Western NY region, spending the last 20 years in the Rochester City School District where he is the Director of the Loudoun Academy of Science. Besides his teaching career, Mr. Wolfe has also been an Emmy-winning television host, fielding live questions for the PBS/WXXI production of Homework Hotline as well as writing and performing in "Football Physics" segments for the Buffalo Bills and the Discover Channel. His contributions to education have been extensive, serving on multiple advisory boards including the Cornell Institute of Physics Teachers, the Cornell Institute of Biology Teachers and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics SportSmarts curriculum project. He has authored several publications including "The Nasonia Project", a lab series built around the genetics and behaviors of a parasitic wasp. He has received numerous awards throughout his teaching career including the NSTA Presidential Excellence Award, The National Association of Biology Teachers Outstanding Biology Teacher Award for New York State, The Shell Award for Outstanding Science Educator, and was recently inducted in the National Teaching Hall of Fame.

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Before we really get into all this respiration stuff, we need to talk about how energy is released in our bodies. And maybe you're going to get the idea that we might have something to slow it down. Now, this is going to be quick, but I've got to show you this. Right in this teaspoon right here, I have about a half a teaspoon, maybe a teaspoonful, of sugar. Now, just to put this in perspective, I want you to understand that in a can of pop - soda, whatever you guys call it - there are about 4 to 6, maybe even more, dissolved tablespoons of sugar.
Now, is there energy stored in this sugar? You bet. Now, how can I get that energy out? Well, you know that, in order to get energy out, we need to burn something; and so we need a source of oxygen. Now, there is oxygen in the air, but it's not - the burned energy is not available to that oxygen. So what I'm going to do is I am going to add a chemical source of oxygen, and I am going to add to this about an equal amount of a chemical - an equal amount from the sugar - an equal amount of a chemical called potassium chlorate. Now, potassium chlorate is KCL - potassium chloride - O[3] - KCLO[3]. It's a very strong source of oxygen. So when I mix the potassium chlorate and the oxygen together - or, excuse me - the potassium chlorate and the sugar together, let's see what happens. And the answer is "nothing." There's nothing happening here.
Why is that? Well, think back to everything you know about energy release. We probably need some activation energy here. So let's see if we can add some activation energy - a chemical form of activation energy. Now, just in case this thing like releases more energy than you think, I'm going to put it in this Pyrex bowl, and I'm going to add some sulfuric acid to this, to see what happens when we activate the energy in that sugar.
Wow! I want you to think about something. Would you want your body releasing energy that quickly? Let's hope we can regulate that.
Cell Biology
An Introduction to Respiration
Energy Release from Sugar: A Demo Page [1 of 1]

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