Sample Essay on Electron Transport Chain

 Electron Transport Chain

Electron transport chain refers to several compounds that are responsible for transferring electrns from the electron donors to the electron acceptors through redox reactions while coupling the electron transfer process with protons (H+ ions) transfer across the membrane. This results in the creation of the electrochemical proton gradient responsible for driving synthesis of ATP or chemical energy generation in form of ATP or adenosine triphosphate.

The electron transport chain is used in energy extraction through redox reactions during photosynthesis from the sun or such as the case of sugars’ oxidation, cellular respiration. In inner mitochondrial membrane in the eukaryotes, there is a crucial electron transport chain that serves as the main oxidative phosphorylation site via the use of the adenosine triphosphate synthesis. Thylakoid membrane of chloroplast in the photosynthetic eukaryotes also has an electron transport chain. Electron transport chain is also found in the cell membrane of bacteria.

Light drives water conversion into NADP+ and oxygen to NADPH with H+ ions being transferred across the chloroplast membranes in the chloroplast. Oxygen conversion into water, NADH to the NAD+ and a succinate to fumerate required for the generation of proton gradient takes place in mitochondria. Electron transport chain is a major site where leakage of premature electron to oxygen and generation of superoxide with potential result of an increase in oxidative stress occurs.


Catabolic processes have FADH2 and NADH as their byproducts.  These are in reduced forms. FADH2 and NADH are used by metabolic processes in transporting electrons in form of the hydride ions (H). The electrons are then passed from FADH2 or NADH to electron carriers that are membrane bound which then passes on to the other carriers until when they are delivered to oxygen which result in water production.

During the process of passing electrons from one carrier to the other, hydrogen ions transfer also takes place in the inter-membrane spaces at the three points in electron transport chain. Hydrogen ions transportation results in greater hydrogen concentration in inter-membrane spaces than in matrix that can be used in driving ATP synthase and production of ATP which is a high energy molecule.

Energy that is obtained via electrons transfer is used in pumping protons from the matrix of the mitochondria into inter-membrane space which creates the electrochemical proton gradient found across the inner membrane of the mitochondria. The electrochemical proton gradient enhances ATP synthase to use H+ flow via enzyme back to the matrix generating ATP from the adenosine diphosphate and the inorganic phosphate.

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