Articles, Blog


August 16, 2019

Captions are on! Click CC at bottom right to turn off. When I was a kid, swimming was one of my favorite
things to do. I was on the swim team starting when I was
four years old and then on and off throughout grade school, although I wasn’t especially
fast. I just loved the water. I used to dream that there was a way I could
be like a fish. When I was little, I had a misconception that
fish didn’t need oxygen. Later on, I learned that, no, most fish have
gills that allow them to extract the oxygen, which they need, from the water. So then I just thought it’d be really cool
if I just had gills. But, alas, no gills for Pinky. Oxygen is a really big deal—so many organisms—from
fish to plants to humans—need oxygen. And yes, even though plants make oxygen in
photosynthesis…they still perform cellular respiration and therefore plants still need
oxygen themselves. There’s often a misconception that plants
don’t need oxygen; that’s just not true. So why do these organisms need oxygen? It’s similar to why you need oxygen. If you’ve ever wondered why you need to
breathe, which is done by the respiratory system in your body, zoom into the cell level. Cells in your body use the oxygen you inhale
to perform cellular respiration. The formula here requires inputs, otherwise
known as reactants, to make ATP. And oxygen is one of those reactants in the
overall equation that is needed to break glucose down in forming ATP. Why ATP? ATP stands for adenosine triphosphate. It is action packed with three phosphates. It has the ability to power many cellular
processes. Typically it’s coupled to other things that
it may be powering. Now after losing the phosphate, the molecule
is ADP, adenosine diphosphate, because it has 2 phosphates. In cellular respiration though, there are
enzymes that can add another phosphate to it and convert it back into ATP again. This particular formula of cellular respiration
is aerobic, meaning overall, it requires oxygen. It is pretty complex, and we have a video
breaking down steps. But that’s not what this video is about. This video is about what happens when there
is no oxygen. Because cells still need to make their ATP. So what kind of cells can handle the no oxygen
thing? Well many types of bacteria can. Many types of archaea. Yeast, which is a fungus that could be helpful
like making your bread rise. Your muscle cells can, for a while anyway. These are all just some examples. Now these organisms handle the lack of oxygen
in different ways. Some organisms such as some types of bacteria
or archaea can do anaerobic respiration— they can continue to perform glycolysis, krebs,
and the electron transport chain just like aerobic cellular respiration. But since there is no oxygen to be that final
electron acceptor at the end of the electron transport chain, they use something else. Sulfate for example. These organisms are specifically adapted to
be able to use a different electron acceptor in this anaerobic respiration. Another option is the organism may just stick
with doing just glycolysis, which doesn’t require oxygen, and then the addition of some
way to get their NAD+ back—-we’ll talk about what that means in a minute. This process is called fermentation and that’s
what we’re going to focus on. Fermentation is a way to be able to handle
the little to no oxygen issue: it allows for glycolysis to happen and for glycolysis to
keep going. That means making ATP when there is no oxygen. And while you won’t make as much ATP in
this process as you would aerobic cellular respiration, you can’t be too picky when
oxygen isn’t around. Recall what glycolysis is from our cellular
respiration video: in glycolysis, you take glucose—a sugar—and it gets converted
into pyruvate. This takes a little ATP cost to actually start
it up, but overall, you make 2 net ATP per glucose molecule and you also produce 2 NADH. What’s that? Recall that NADH is a coenzyme and an electron
carrier. We also need to mention that NADH didn’t
just *poof* appear as a product. No, because NAD+ actually was reduced to NADH
when it gained electrons. And if the words reduced and oxidized are
confusing…you can remember the famous LEO GER mnemonic: Lose electrons=oxidized. Gained electrons=reduced. So NADHNAD+ is oxidation because it loses
electrons and NAD+NADH is reduction because it gains electrons. Now NADH, the electron carrier, would normally
be delivering the electrons gained to the electron transport chain if this was aerobic
cellular respiration. Once losing their electrons, NADH would be
oxidized into NAD+ and be ready to be involved all over again in glycolysis. But there’s no electron transport chain
step in this fermentation process. So we’ve got to regenerate the NAD+ somehow—NAD+
is needed here after all for glycolysis to continue. Fermentation therefore adds another little
step to the end of glycolysis—a step to help regenerate NAD+. This happens because fermentation allows NADH
to give its electrons to an electron acceptor which, in the two fermentation examples we
are going to give, will either be a derivative of pyruvate or pyruvate itself. So here we go with two types of fermentation
which both result in different products from pyruvate. Alcoholic fermentation: as done by some types
of yeast. So first glycolysis which yields 2 net ATP,
2 pyruvate, and 2 NADH. Now we need the step to regenerate the NAD+
so we can keep doing glycolysis. The 2 pyruvate is used which will ultimately
produce carbon dioxide and 2 ethanol (alcohol), but the derivative of pyruvate shown here,
acetaldehyde, can act as an electron acceptor in this process so that the 2 NADH can be
oxidized to 2 NAD+ so that glycolysis can start all over. Since ethanol (alcohol) is a waste product
in this process.Yeasts also can do alcoholic fermentation in making bread, and the carbon
dioxide product we mentioned is involved with helping the bread rise! The tiny amount of alcohol produced in the
short fermenting time of bread will evaporate in the baking process. Lactic acid fermentation: as can be done by
cells such as your muscle cells for example! While your muscle cells can do aerobic cellular
respiration, they can shift to lactic acid fermentation if they experience an oxygen
debt. This could happen if you are working out very
intensely where your blood is unable to deliver a sufficient amount of oxygen to them for
their demand. Just like with alcoholic fermentation, we
start with glycolysis that yields 2 net ATP, 2 pyruvate, and 2 NADH. But now we need the step to regenerate the
NAD+, and this step is a bit different from alcoholic fermentation. The 2 pyruvate on the reactant side will ultimately
yield 2 lactate. The pyruvate can act as an electron acceptor
allowing NADH to be oxidized to NAD+ so that glycolysis can start over. By the way, this lactate product or specifically
its other form lactic acid, has often been blamed for the muscle soreness that occurs
the day after intense exercise- in many of my teaching years this was the hypothesis
with this- but actually there’s some recent research that may dispute this product as
the cause of muscle soreness. Check out our further reading suggestions
in our video details to learn more! Lactic acid fermentation is also done by bacteria
that are involved in making yogurt and lactic acid can contribute to its sour taste. So overall, fermentation is a pretty remarkable
process. Although, it does make us appreciate oxygen
because despite how absolutely awesome fermentation may be….…it just can’t make as much
ATP as aerobic cellular respiration. Well, that’s it for the Amoeba Sisters and
we remind you to stay curious!


  • Reply Amoeba Sisters April 30, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    This is a quick reupload—sorry about that! We had an earlier version posted just an hour ago, but we noticed a place in the video that had the word NADH instead of NAD+. A typo that would really bother us if it caused any confusion! Fixed now 🙂

  • Reply Maluak April 30, 2018 at 11:11 pm

    Fermentation, I love it, because it can generate alcohol^^

  • Reply Roboglobe April 30, 2018 at 11:50 pm

    You guys are cool beans.

  • Reply Kara Reichert May 1, 2018 at 1:58 am

    The Office Space reference is making my day!!! Haha!!!

  • Reply DragonMage May 1, 2018 at 2:07 am

    I have my biology EOC tomorrow and I'm studying oof

  • Reply Michelle Lee May 1, 2018 at 11:05 am

    omg that pic with the NADH hugging the electrons is so cute…

    (But that would be NADH-)
    Anyways, if anyone is confused on why NADH is the reduced form, just remember that when a proton (+) gains an electron, it becomes an H.

  • Reply TheBrodsterBoy May 1, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    Still waiting on that prions video

  • Reply A Girl Online May 1, 2018 at 5:50 pm

    I learnt OIL RIG. Oxidize is lose and reduce is gain

  • Reply georgehenna May 1, 2018 at 9:10 pm

    I'm LATE !!! A DAY LATE!📩📨 My sincere apologies my fellow single-celled companions and I vow a solemn oath to like this video for your inconvenience. The video is awesome by the way. Best of luck for the future and I hope that with the help of Endosymbiotic Theory, you guys and your channel will grow to greatness. 😉🧠😉😄

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    The amoeba sisters are Thicc

  • Reply SuperSoldier 24 May 2, 2018 at 2:03 am


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    BAD VIDEO >:(


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    have exams tmr 🙁

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    A video diving more deeply into each of the main body systems would be great! If there's an Amoeba Sisters video for the subject I want, I always watch that one!

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    if you find the mnemonic LEO GER difficult try OIL RIG
    I – IS
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    I – IS
    G – GAIN

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    how does NAD+ oxidize to NADH without oxygen? what am i missing?

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    In "The 'Tail' Begins" by Jae Byrd Wells, 61 individuals are experimented on by a mad scientist and turned into Human Electric Cave Catfish (Hecc for short). They were basically modern-day mermaids. You talking about wishing you had gills made me think of that. It's a good story; you may enjoy it 😀

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    At 6:05, does she say electronic scepter or electron receptor?

  • Reply Spicy Cat February 12, 2019 at 12:59 pm

    Fun fact: your heart and lungs are connected. Your heart pumps not oxygenated blood into your lungs to make them oxygenated.

  • Reply The LOL Minecrafter February 14, 2019 at 5:41 pm

    Oh my lord, that OfficeSpace reference at 3:29…. XD

  • Reply The LOL Minecrafter February 14, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    Also, OIL RIG is easier.
    Loss (of electrons)

    Gain (of electrons).

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  • Reply SanguinaryStrife March 12, 2019 at 2:16 am

    This video is terrible, you jump all over the place, you're not explaining where in the cell the cycles take place. You took too much time animating your voice and making these cartoons, you're missing some important facts. Thumbs down.

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  • Reply Ren April 27, 2019 at 11:32 am

    Difference between Anaerobic respiration and fermentation?

  • Reply Kelly Wan April 28, 2019 at 10:42 am

    I always do OIL RIG: oxidisation is loss, reduction is gain.

  • Reply dwij mehta May 2, 2019 at 4:51 pm

    Please make vedios on glycolysis,Krebs cycle,c-3,c-4 cycle etc physiological process in plants

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    oml, borg reference

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    So easy to understand but can you explain a little bit more..? ( I studied this with my exam but some little parts were missing…)

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    Im studying for my Biology Exam and this is very helpful. Thank you so much

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    I have a end of year exam and your videos a doing a great job it allows me to understand the lesson more. Please continue❤

  • Reply Manya M Kumar June 6, 2019 at 4:24 am

    Loved the cute amoeba sisters In the video!!!! After seeing the video I feel textbooks look so boring…..

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    You rock!

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    You know, vegans should eat fermented plants as cows do to get all nutrients of plants

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