Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) and Metabolism

In discussing the chemistry of the human body, the media features many important substances. Take water. We are told how important it is to drink lots of water. Our body cells do consist, after all, of about 60% water. And we repeatedly hear of DNA, cholesterol, free radicals, omega fatty-acids, trans fat and sodium. Yet, there is one essential compound that is seldom mentioned... adenosine triphosphate, acronym ATP. Have you heard-tell of ATP? No? Yet it is remarkably important – you could not exist without it. Besides, even if you could, the energy you'd need to function would be totally unavailable. ATP - What Is It? ATP, on examination (see image) is one molecule consisting of three portions. There is an adenine portion attached to a ribose (sugar) portion, attached…
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Rigor Mortis – Not a Lucky Stiff

Chemistry, Medicine
When a person or animal dies, it doesn’t take long before the body grows cold and stiff. Cold makes obvious sense, but why stiff? Why does rigor mortis [Latin for stiffness of death] set in? Chemistry of Rigor Mortis Rigor mortis results from chemical changes within the muscles - it’s body chemistry. The chemical enabling muscle flexing is ATP (adenosine triphosphate). When breathing ceases, breathing ceases. Lack of oxygen severely diminishes ATP production. If the individual dies, the body begins cooling right away, but muscle stiffening does not set in immediately. [caption id="attachment_14541" align="alignright" width="280"] Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP)[/caption] Before R. M. – a Second ATP Production Process There is a secondary process for producing ATP. It involves anaerobic glycolysis, the breakdown of glucose into lactic acid. Simply written, it is…
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Vorticella – a Living Spring

Among microscopic aquatic creatures, it is the most bizarre. Vorticella looks like an upside down bell attached to a pull rope. That pull rope is actually a fibril or stalk called a myoneme,1 which has, running down its middle, an internal organelle. This spasmoneme contracts into a spring or corkscrew shape, as seen in the video below. Why is Vorticella of Interest Scientists are not ashamed to learn from the lowly creature. The contraction and elongation of its stalk appears to depend on the binding and re-release of calcium ions by the protein spasmin. What makes this of special interest is no ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is necessary to achieve the task, though ordinarily, it plays a vital role in muscle function. High Tech Plumbing? Curiously, it has been suggested this…
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