UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
Home
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Webcasts
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
How does a mitochondria in a cell get energy from food, water, protein, etc?
Answer 1:

The mitochondria help cells to get energy from molecules like sugars, proteins, and fats. All living things need water, but they don’t break it down for energy.

The main idea is that big, complicated molecules store energy. When cells break down the molecules, they can use the energy to do work.

The way they do it is a bit complicated, but they use the energy they get from breaking down food molecules to charge up another kind of molecule called ATP. All of the parts of the cell use ATP to do work.

Animals take in these big molecules by eating. Fungi like mushrooms and yeast absorb food. Plants make food themselves by getting energy from the sun and putting water and carbon dioxide together into sugar. This is called photosynthesis. They can send the sugar all over the plant where bigger things can be built from the sugar, or the sugar can be broken down to get the energy out.

Do you think plants have mitochondria?

If you are interested in how cells work, you may want to be a cell biologist.

Thanks for asking,


Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2015 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use