If there is something that is common to everything that lives, breathes and grows, it is cellular respiration. Cellular respiration is a crucial process that occurs in the cells of every living organism. It allows cells to convert nutrients into adenosine triphosphate (ATP). If you want to see it in action, there are a few cellular respiration experiments you can try that illustrate the process, and you do not need a separate cellular respiration lab to do them.
Everybody eats food to live and grow. The key word in understanding cellular respiration is "metabolism." During cellular respiration, the cells in your body metabolize, or convert, the food you eat into energy. The chemical breakdown results in carbon dioxide, water and ATP. ATP powers cells, enabling processes requiring energy such as the transportation of molecules across cell membranes.
Plant Cellular Respiration
Plants absorb carbon dioxide and then convert it into oxygen. One of the easiest ways to observe the respiration process at work is to get a potted plant and wrap the leaves in plastic wrap. Next, put your wrapped plant in a sunny place. In a few hours, you will see that the plastic has become moist. When you’ve noted this, you can take the plastic off and let your plant breathe freely again, as you’ve just witnessed cellular respiration in a plant.
Cellular Respiration in Yeast
Another process in which cell respiration takes place is when yeast consumes sugar and transforms it into carbon dioxide. Yeast, a common ingredient used in baking in most kitchens, is a unicellular fungus that comes to life when warm water is added to it. To see cell respiration in yeast, get a glass or bowl of warm water and add one spoon of yeast to it. Next, add a spoonful of sugar to the water and stir. When the mixture starts to froth and rise in the bowl, it is evidence that the yeast has already started converting the sugar into carbon dioxide, thus demonstrating cellular respiration.
Cellular Respiration Experiments With Seed Germination
To observe cellular respiration in seed germination, you will need some garden soil, seeds, containers and, of course, some light and heat. Place some soil in your containers and plant the seeds in the soil. Water the seeds and place them in a warm place. Tending to the seeds and giving them enough light, warmth and water will clearly contribute to the seeds' growth, which displays the factors necessary to exhibit the mechanism of cell respiration, and you do not need a cell respiration lab to see the results.
About the Author
Mike Jones is an Atlanta native who has been writing professionally since 2000. He has written a number of entertainment, health and how-to articles for online publications such as eHow and Answerbag. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Regent University.