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InvisibleEgo Death
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What powers a human being?
    #3857157 - 03/02/05 02:18 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

I know, of course, that we turn food into energy.

But think about the amount of energy we must use!  I suppose we must be a super-efficient machine to be able to do all the physical and mental activity from just food and water.

Does anybody know exactly which process converts food to energy.

Wouldn't it be possible to build more efficient machines, if we copyed the process a human uses?  Or make a source of power through a bio-mechanical device or something?
:confused: :stoned:


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OfflinePhluck
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Re: What powers a human being? [Re: Ego Death]
    #3857170 - 03/02/05 02:22 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)



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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: What powers a human being? [Re: Ego Death]
    #3857174 - 03/02/05 02:24 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

I think most of the energy used by your cells comes in the form of a chemical called ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate) which is produced by mitocondria your cells from glucose (sugar). I think the ATP is then oxidized which releases energy for the cell to use (though I could be wrong, here).

I don't think we are a particularly efficient machine, though. There is a lot of waste that goes on, and the ATP production mechanism itself can cause all kinds of havok as it releases free-radicals into the cell (they cause cancer and nasties like that). ATP metabolism is also one of the suspected causes of aging (lowering the ammount of ATP produced in a cell extends the cell's life well beyond "normal").


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Offlinefresh313
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Re: What powers a human being? [Re: trendal]
    #3857455 - 03/02/05 03:39 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

burning fat instead of sugar is the key
fat has much more energy potential than sugar


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Offlinebaraka
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Re: What powers a human being? [Re: trendal]
    #3859222 - 03/02/05 09:12 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

all the nrg we use comes from breaking hydrogen bonds on atp which is made in every cell.


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OfflineBleaK
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Re: What powers a human being? [Re: baraka]
    #3861129 - 03/03/05 04:02 AM (12 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

baraka said:
all the nrg we use comes from breaking hydrogen bonds on atp which is made in every cell.




statements like these are funny..

so, by wat means are these hydrogen bonds made?


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: What powers a human being? [Re: BleaK]
    #3861556 - 03/03/05 10:32 AM (12 years, 1 month ago)

:lol:

It is "made" by attatching a hydrogen atom to another atom - thus having a hydrogen bond.

In the case of ATP, the compound is produced in the mitocondria.


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OfflineBleaK
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Re: What powers a human being? [Re: trendal]
    #3861749 - 03/03/05 11:56 AM (12 years, 1 month ago)

so do i need little tweezers to attach all the atoms to one another? and maybe some elmers glue? or does it happen by some other means? or does it just happen?


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: What powers a human being? [Re: BleaK]
    #3861869 - 03/03/05 12:33 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

Read a chemistry book :wink:

Hydrogen only has a single electron in its outer (and only) valence shell, but it wants to have two electrons to have a full valance shell. To fill the shell up, it will "share" its electron with another atom, and that atom will in turn "share" one of its electrons with the hydrogen atom.

The conversion of glucose->ATP in your cells is a process of enzyme action on the glucose. The mitocondria derive energy by "pumping" electrons accross a membrane, I think.


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OfflineChuangTzu
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Re: What powers a human being? [Re: baraka]
    #3862068 - 03/03/05 01:22 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

NO NO NO NO NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! The energy released from the conversion of ATP to ADP comes from breaking P--O bonds. These are "permanent," covalent bonds which are broken with the help of a catalyst. Hydrogen bonds are constantly being made and broken (millions or more times per second for most small molecules in a liquid).


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: What powers a human being? [Re: ChuangTzu]
    #3862126 - 03/03/05 01:32 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

dephosphorylation?


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: What powers a human being? [Re: trendal]
    #3862139 - 03/03/05 01:36 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

What enzyme does this, do you know the name of it?

I'm at work right now and too lazy to search for myself :tongue:


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OfflineChuangTzu
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Re: What powers a human being? [Re: trendal]
    #3862143 - 03/03/05 01:37 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

Ack, that is not at all how a hydrogen bond is made.

A hydrogen bond is a weak, transient "bond" which is formed between an electronegative atom and a hydrogen atom which is covalently bonded to another electronegative atom. When a hydrogen atom is bonded to an atom which is much more electronegative than itself, let's say oxygen, (electronegativity is the degree to which an atom will pull electrons towards it) it takes on a partial positive charge -- imagine the oxygen atom as pulling some of the electron cloud of hydrogen towards it to make itself more "negative" (it's technically a neutral atom but because of quantum mechanical effects it still likes to surround itself with some additional electron cloud). When the hydrogen atom loses some of its electron cloud to the oxygen atom it, in turn, becomes a bit positive (the principle of charge conservation).

So now we have a slightly positively charged hydrogen atom and a slightly negatively charged oxygen atom, for instance in a water molecule. A hydrogen bond can be formed between either of the hydrogen atoms of one water molecule and the oxygen of the other. This is a very weak bond and in water it only lasts something like 10^-11 seconds. Which is not to say that it's not important as most of the useful and life-giving properties of water are derived from the fact that it forms hydrogen bonds so easily; even though a single hydrogen bond lasts only a fraction of a second, there is always another water molecule that slips in and forms another one.


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OfflineChuangTzu
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Re: What powers a human being? [Re: trendal]
    #3862150 - 03/03/05 01:38 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:


Hydrogen only has a single electron in its outer (and only) valence shell, but it wants to have two electrons to have a full valance shell. To fill the shell up, it will "share" its electron with another atom, and that atom will in turn "share" one of its electrons with the hydrogen atom.




Right, that is how hydrogen forms a covalent bond.


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OfflineChuangTzu
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Re: What powers a human being? [Re: trendal]
    #3862170 - 03/03/05 01:44 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

trendal said:
dephosphorylation?




yes.


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OfflineChuangTzu
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Re: What powers a human being? [Re: trendal]
    #3862189 - 03/03/05 01:50 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

trendal said:
What enzyme does this, do you know the name of it?




No, I don't. It's possible that it depends on how the ATP is being used (to fuel an ion pump, contract a muscle filament....)


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OfflineChuangTzu
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Re: What powers a human being? [Re: trendal]
    #3862210 - 03/03/05 01:57 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:


The conversion of glucose->ATP in your cells is a process of enzyme action on the glucose. The mitochondria derive energy by "pumping" electrons across a membrane, I think.




Yeah, basically. Do a search for "Krebs cycle". It's one of the most amazing things I've ever learned about (one of the others being the Calvin cycle, which is the way that plants fix carbon). The fact that someone actually managed to figure out (almost) all of the steps in these processes is almost as amazing as the fact that they exist at all.


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Re: What powers a human being? [Re: ChuangTzu]
    #3862224 - 03/03/05 02:00 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

I'm a little familiar with the Krebs cycle (though it's been years since OAC biology class). It always amazed me that there were these tiny yet rather complex "ATP production machines" inside your cells.


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Offlinegnrm23
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TCA (krebs cycle) [Re: trendal]
    #3862399 - 03/03/05 02:52 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)



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