At any given moment, how much energy is stored in the human body as ATP?

At any given moment, how much energy is stored in the human body as ATP?

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At any given moment, approximately how much energy is stored in the human body as ATP in the ADP-P-bond?

This of course depends on what type of cell it is and the activity of the individual in question. The calculation should be fairly simple, as we know that ATP hydrolysis release about 30 kJ/mol. Hence, the question could actually be re-phrased to $"$At any given moment, how much ATP does the human body have?$"$

ATP burned per minute is not a useful number because the turnover is so high. 2000 kcal/day is dozens of kilograms of ATP so obviously ATP is turned over more than once a day, but there's probably more than one molecule of ATP being passed around between all the ATP synthases.

This blog claims 250 grams. Taking the estimate of ATP concentrations(1-10 mM) from wikipedia and multiplying by a 60 kg person pops out 150 grams (for 5 mM). The ATP/ADP ratio is about 5 to 1 under physiological conditions, so I'm comfortable leaving out that source of error.

So: Probably a few hundred grams, depending on a lot of things. Which is about .2-.7 moles, for reference. 6-20 kJ is not a lot, in fact even at the upper end of estimates you're looking at maybe 8 dietary calories, and probably more like 3.

Each of us burns approximately twice our body weight in ATP every day. So double your body weight and divide that number by the number of seconds in one day; that will give you the average mass of ATP. N.B. a person with a higher mass will have a higher answer.

At any given moment, how much energy is stored in the human body as ATP? - Biology

Cells couple the exergonic reaction of ATP hydrolysis with endergonic reactions to harness the energy within the bonds of ATP.

Learning Objectives

Explain the role of ATP as the currency of cellular energy

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Adenosine triphosphate is composed of the nitrogenous base adenine, the five-carbon sugar ribose, and three phosphate groups.
  • ATP is hydrolyzed to ADP in the reaction ATP+H2O→ADP+Pi+ free energy the calculated ∆G for the hydrolysis of 1 mole of ATP is -57 kJ/mol.
  • ADP is combined with a phosphate to form ATP in the reaction ADP+Pi+free energy→ATP+H2O.
  • The energy released from the hydrolysis of ATP into ADP is used to perform cellular work, usually by coupling the exergonic reaction of ATP hydrolysis with endergonic reactions.
  • Sodium-potassium pumps use the energy derived from exergonic ATP hydrolysis to pump sodium and potassium ions across the cell membrane while phosphorylation drives the endergonic reaction.

Key Terms

  • energy coupling: Energy coupling occurs when the energy produced by one reaction or system is used to drive another reaction or system.
  • endergonic: Describing a reaction that absorbs (heat) energy from its environment.
  • exergonic: Describing a reaction that releases energy (heat) into its environment.
  • free energy: Gibbs free energy is a thermodynamic potential that measures the useful or process-initiating work obtainable from a thermodynamic system at a constant temperature and pressure (isothermal, isobaric).
  • hydrolysis: A chemical process of decomposition involving the splitting of a bond by the addition of water.

ATP: Adenosine Triphosphate

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the energy currency for cellular processes. ATP provides the energy for both energy-consuming endergonic reactions and energy-releasing exergonic reactions, which require a small input of activation energy. When the chemical bonds within ATP are broken, energy is released and can be harnessed for cellular work. The more bonds in a molecule, the more potential energy it contains. Because the bond in ATP is so easily broken and reformed, ATP is like a rechargeable battery that powers cellular process ranging from DNA replication to protein synthesis.

Molecular Structure

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is comprised of the molecule adenosine bound to three phosphate groups. Adenosine is a nucleoside consisting of the nitrogenous base adenine and the five-carbon sugar ribose. The three phosphate groups, in order of closest to furthest from the ribose sugar, are labeled alpha, beta, and gamma. Together, these chemical groups constitute an energy powerhouse. The two bonds between the phosphates are equal high-energy bonds (phosphoanhydride bonds) that, when broken, release sufficient energy to power a variety of cellular reactions and processes. The bond between the beta and gamma phosphate is considered “high-energy” because when the bond breaks, the products [adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and one inorganic phosphate group (Pi)] have a lower free energy than the reactants (ATP and a water molecule). ATP breakdown into ADP and Pi is called hydrolysis because it consumes a water molecule (hydro-, meaning “water”, and lysis, meaning “separation”).

Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP): ATP is the primary energy currency of the cell. It has an adenosine backbone with three phosphate groups attached.

ATP Hydrolysis and Synthesis

ATP is hydrolyzed into ADP in the following reaction:

Like most chemical reactions, the hydrolysis of ATP to ADP is reversible. The reverse reaction combines ADP + Pi to regenerate ATP from ADP. Since ATP hydrolysis releases energy, ATP synthesis must require an input of free energy.

ADP is combined with a phosphate to form ATP in the following reaction:

ATP and Energy Coupling

Exactly how much free energy (∆G) is released with the hydrolysis of ATP, and how is that free energy used to do cellular work? The calculated ∆G for the hydrolysis of one mole of ATP into ADP and Pi is −7.3 kcal/mole (−30.5 kJ/mol). However, this is only true under standard conditions, and the ∆G for the hydrolysis of one mole of ATP in a living cell is almost double the value at standard conditions: 14 kcal/mol (−57 kJ/mol).

ATP is a highly unstable molecule. Unless quickly used to perform work, ATP spontaneously dissociates into ADP + Pi, and the free energy released during this process is lost as heat. To harness the energy within the bonds of ATP, cells use a strategy called energy coupling.

Energy Coupling in Sodium-Potassium Pumps

Energy Coupling: Sodium-potassium pumps use the energy derived from exergonic ATP hydrolysis to pump sodium and potassium ions across the cell membrane.

Cells couple the exergonic reaction of ATP hydrolysis with the endergonic reactions of cellular processes. For example, transmembrane ion pumps in nerve cells use the energy from ATP to pump ions across the cell membrane and generate an action potential. The sodium-potassium pump (Na + /K + pump) drives sodium out of the cell and potassium into the cell. When ATP is hydrolyzed, it transfers its gamma phosphate to the pump protein in a process called phosphorylation. The Na + /K + pump gains the free energy and undergoes a conformational change, allowing it to release three Na + to the outside of the cell. Two extracellular K + ions bind to the protein, causing the protein to change shape again and discharge the phosphate. By donating free energy to the Na + /K + pump, phosphorylation drives the endergonic reaction.

Energy Coupling in Metabolism

During cellular metabolic reactions, or the synthesis and breakdown of nutrients, certain molecules must be altered slightly in their conformation to become substrates for the next step in the reaction series. In the very first steps of cellular respiration, glucose is broken down through the process of glycolysis. ATP is required for the phosphorylation of glucose, creating a high-energy but unstable intermediate. This phosphorylation reaction causes a conformational change that allows enzymes to convert the phosphorylated glucose molecule to the phosphorylated sugar fructose. Fructose is a necessary intermediate for glycolysis to move forward. In this example, the exergonic reaction of ATP hydrolysis is coupled with the endergonic reaction of converting glucose for use in the metabolic pathway.

The conversion of glucose into lactic acid drives the phosphorylation of 2 moles of ADP to ATP and has a standard free energy of -135 kJ/mol. C6H12O6 + 2 HPO4 + 2 ADP + 2 H+ --> 2CH3CH(OH)COOH + 2 ATP + 2H20 What is the standard free energy for the

What is the definition of photosynthesis? the process of changing light into stored chemical energy in the form of sugars*** the process of converting the energy in carbohydrate molecules into ATP the process of changing light into stored chemical energy

How does ATP supply the cells with the energy they need to work? Outline the general scheme of the ATP energy cycle.

The main cells that store fat in the triglyceride form are called adipocytes, or simply fat cells. White adipose cells store fat for use as energy, whereas brown adipose tissue is merely used to create heat and is not relevant as an energy store. Adipocytes are generally found around the body under the skin and also in the abdominal cavity, surrounding the internal organs.

If fat is needed for energy, the body breaks the triglyceride molecule back into the three fatty acid chains and the single glycerol molecule. Hormonal signals tell the body when fats need to be broken down and also when fats should be synthesized and stored. In terms of breakdown, though, the glycerol molecule is really a carbohydrate, so it can go straight into a very important carbohydrate metabolic pathway called glycolysis. This portion releases some energy. The fatty acids, though, need to go into an alternative pathway called beta-oxidation.

How Do I Raise ATP for Healing and Energy?

There are a few ways that ATP can be produced. The most common way is the Kreb’s Cycle (aka The Citric Acid Cycle). There are other ways like beta oxidation and oxidative phosphorylation, but for the sake of this article, we are going to keep it simple so you dodged that bullet.
There are certain molecules called redox signaling molecules. Redox simply means “reduction and oxidation”. These molecules can donate an electron or take an electron away from another molecule to facilitate a chemical reaction.
These molecules have many purposes, but many of these molecules help to facilitate the Kreb’s Cycle that produces ATP. Co-enzyme Q10 (aka CoQ10) for example, is one of these molecules that can help our mitochondria produce more ATP. As such, it has numerous benefits for our brain, and heart.

Endogenous Antioxidants: The Super Supplements Your Body Makes!

Many of these compounds like CoQ10 are produced naturally by our own bodies, but as we get older and incur stress or damage to our bodies, we are less able to produce these compounds.
Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA not to be confused with the omega-3) is another antioxidant produced by our body that facilitates ATP production and reduces oxidative stress. However, ALA has some additional benefits like removing heavy metals.
ALA also activates a compound called PGC-1a that not only protects our DNA from the effects of aging (by protecting our telomeres), but it also stimulates mitochondrial biogenesis.
This means that it signals our cells to make more mitochondria! This in combination with CoQ10 can be a powerful one-two punch to boost your energy at a cellular. Creatine is another very common and safe supplement used by bodybuilders because it increases ATP.


The regulation of glucose is an essential system inside the human body. Most cells in the human body use glucose as their major source of energy such as red blood cells and muscle cells. Glucose molecules are hydrolysed within cells in order to produce ATP, which stimulates numerous cellular processes within the body. Glucose molecules are delivered to cells by the circulating blood and therefore, to ensure a constant supply of glucose to the cells, it is important that blood glucose levels be maintained at relatively constant levels. Even excess level of glucose can lead to further complications such as diabetes or damage to organs. Level constancy is accomplished primarily through negative feedback systems, which ensures that blood glucose concentration is maintained within the normal range (3.6 – 5.8 mmol/L). Negative feedback systems are extremely important in homeostasis as it sense changes in the body and activate mechanisms that reverse the changes in order to restore conditions to their normal levels. Therefore any disruption in homeostasis can lead to potentially serious situations. The major factor that can increase the blood glucose levels and the production of new glucose molecules is the liver cells. The major factor that can decrease the blood glucose levels including the transport of glucose into cells and the loss of glucose is through urine. This is an abnormal event that also occurs in diabetes mellitus.

Normally, in a healthy person, the blood glucose levels can easily be restored to normal levels through the actions of two pancreatic hormones: Insulin and glucagon. If blood glucose levels rise after the digestion of food then the beta-insulin cells of the pancreas respond by secreting insulin. The secretion of insulin stimulates cells in the body to increase their rate of glucose uptake from the blood, increase the formation of glycogen from glucose in liver and skeletal muscle cells and also stimulates fat synthesis from glucose in liver cells and adipose tissue. These factors cause a decrease in the blood glucose levels back to normal levels.

However, if the blood glucose levels fall below normal levels for example during fasting state or starvation then the insulin secretion from the pancreas is inhibited. As a result alpha cells of the pancreas respond by secreting glucagon, which increases the breakdown of glycogen to glucose in liver and skeletal muscle cells and this would also increase the breakdown of fats to fatty acids and glycerol in adipose tissue. Consequently, the release of these substances into the blood would stimulate the liver cells to increase glucose synthesis so as a result glucose is released into the blood. These factors cause an increase in the blood glucose levels back to normal levels. In addition to insulin and glucagon hormones, there are also several other hormones that can stimulate the blood glucose levels such as epinephrine, cortisol, and growth hormone.

Null hypothesis- No effect

Blood glucose
Fasting blood glucose 70–99 mg/dL or less than 5.5 mmol/L
2 hours after eating (postprandial) 70–145 mg/dL (less than 7.9 mmol/L)
Random (casual) 70–125 mg/dL (less than 7.0 mmol/L)


A young girl sits at the edge of a dock by the bay, dipping her feet in the water. At the instant shown in the figure , she holds her lower leg stationary with her quadriceps muscle at an angle of 39 degree with respect to the horizontal. Use the

1. At 4:00 A.M. the outside temperature was -28. By 4:00 P.M. it rose 38 degrees. What was the temperature at 4:00 P.M.? 10 2.Three friends decided to exercise together four times a week to lose fat and increase muscle mass. While all three were healthier

ATP to ADP – Energy Release

This is done by a simple process, in which one of the 2phosphate molecules is broken off, therefore reducing the ATP from 3 phosphates to 2, forming ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate after removing one of the phosphates ). This is commonly written as ADP + Pi.

When the bond connecting the phosphate is broken, energy is released.

While ATP is constantly being used up by the body in its biological processes, the energy supply can be bolstered by new sources of glucose being made available via eating food which is then broken down by the digestive system to smaller particles that can be utilized by the body.

On top of this, ADP is built back up into ATP so that it can be used again in its more energetic state. Although this conversion requires energy, the process produces a net gain in energy, meaning that more energy is available by re-using ADP+Pi back into ATP.

A look into cell division

It’s that time in the general biology semester where we transfer our attention to cell division. Having already discussed a number of basic principles like the laws of thermodynamics and a touch of chemistry, and cellular functions such as the flow of energy and the flow of information, it’s now time to look at how cells reproduce themselves.

In this chapter we should be recalling all the parts of the cell and accounting for how they get sorted into the developing ‘daughter cells’, and also recall the role of information, in the form of DNA, and how this is apportioned into the daughter. Of course we will spend most of our time focusing on the distribution of DNA, but we should always keep in mind what we know of other structures and organelles.

I previously wrote an essay describing cell division in humans that marries this information with the subject of the next unit, genetics and inheritance. You can find that text here. Therein, I briefly address one of the oddities of eukaryotic cells, the mitochondria. Mitochondria are odd because they live in our cells as strange symbiotes that share their energy with us in exchange for protection and a supply of nutrients. The theory describing this relationship was proposed by Lynn Margulis, and is widely accepted today. A description of her theory can be found here.

Because Mitochondria (and chloroplasts) are pseudo-autonomous cells, they must replicate themselves. A cartoon and some micrographs that illustrate this process have been borrowed from Nature Reviews.

The process involves an interaction with the Endoplasmic Reticulum, that guides an assembly of molecules that constrict around the Mitochondria eventually effecting its division into to smaller organelles. What this image does not include is the replication and separation of the mitochondria’s own circular DNA, a process that necessarily precedes the actual division of the organelle.

Altogether, there’s a lot to keep in mind when examining cell division. Why is this cell dividing? How are the instructions for life (DNA) being distributed between daughter cells? What does the daughter cell need in order to survive on its own? How do these parts / organelles handle their own division between the cells? And what would happen if any of this went wrong along the way?

Substrate Level Phosphorylation

Several processes occur during normal eukaryotic metabolism to create ATP. During glycolysis (the breaking of sugar) both prokaryotes and eukaryotes use energy from the chemical bonds in the sugar to make ATP by directly transferring phosphates from the substrate molecule to ADP, resulting in ATP. Predictably, this process became known as ‘substrate-level phosphorylation. Both Cell Respiration, occurring in the mitochondria, and the light reactions of photosynthesis, occurring in the chloroplasts, also made ATP, however, no one understood how this occurred as no intermediate substrate molecule bearing the phosphates groups was known.

1978 Nobel Prize in Chemistry winner

The Peter Mitchell, working at his own, privately funded research foundation, tackled this problem and determined that the power to make ATP came from two processes linked indirectly. For his work in this area, Mitchell won the 1978 Nobel Prize in Chemistry “for his contribution to the understanding of biological energy transfer through the formulation of the chemiosmotic theory”.

Model diagram of electron transport and H+ translocation across the membrane

Electron flow carries H+ across the membrane

Process#1: One of these processes is the electron transport chain (E.T.C.) during which a high-energy, excited electron is passed down a series of membrane proteins. As the electron is passed, it sometimes pulls hydrogen ions (H+) along and passes them across the membrane (see the cartoon illustration of this model by Mitchell). As a result, this process creates an electrochemical gradient across the membrane with more H+ on one side compared to very few on the other.

Process #2: As we know, these gradients will ‘want’ to resolve themselves and move towards equilibrium (by diffusion). There exists a special channel protein that H+ may pass through from the side of the membrane with a high concentration of these ions to the other.

“Each chemical species (for example, “water molecules”, “sodium ions”, “electrons”, etc.) has an electrochemical potential (a quantity with units of energy) at any given location, which represents how easy or difficult it is to add more of that species to that location. If possible, a species will move from areas with higher electrochemical potential to areas with lower electrochemical potential in equilibrium, the electrochemical potential will be constant everywhere for each species”

I prefer to imagine the membrane and ions as a hydroelectric dam with water building up on one side and a relief passage through the dam.

Just as energy is captured when water rushes through the dam, H+ ions coming through the channel protein are used to power an enzymatic subunit that synthesizes ATP.

Sigma-Aldrich provides an excellent animation illustrating how ATP Synthase operates as both a H+ channel and an enzyme making ATP.

A conceptually simple set of experiments provides the evidence supporting this model. Here, an artificial membrane is made incorporating ATP synthase and bacteriorhodopsin. The rhodopsin molecule is capable of transporting H+s across the cell membrane when it is struck by light. Given sufficient supplies of H+ ions, ADP and Pi, ATP will be formed when a light source is present. In the absence of light, no H+ is transported and no ATP is made.

When a H+ carrier molecule that can diffuse through the membrane is introduced, this carrier maintains equal amounts of H+ on both sides of the membrane. Further, even when light is present, H+ is pumped across the membrane and then re diffuses back creating little or no ATP. This is illustrated in a cartoon from Albert’s Essential Cell Biology:

Chemiosmosis defined experimentally

At What Stage in Cellular Respiration Is Most ATP Produced?

In cellular respiration, the electron transport stage is when most adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is produced. Electron transport is the third stage in cellular respiration.

Cellular respiration involves a series of complex reactions. The first phase of cellular respiration is glycolysis, which involves splitting glucose. This phase is carried out in several steps. The end result is the production of pyruvic acid. After pyruvic acid is produced, the Krebs cycle begins. The Krebs cycle, which is the second phase of cellular respiration, is sometimes referred to as the citric acid cycle. The Krebs cycle first produces citric acid, and it produces carbon dioxide as an end product. Electron transport is the last stage of aerobic respiration in cellular respiration. It results in the production of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. ATP is a molecule that supports a variety of life functions. It is found in the nucleoplasm and cytoplasm of all cells, and helps organisms perform physiological functions. During anaerobic respiration, ATP is synthesized through glycolysis. In aerobic production, ATP is produced by mitochondria in addition to glycolysis.

Glycolysis and ATP Production
Glycolysis is produced in a cell's cytoplasm. During this phase, a molecule of glucose is broken down into two molecules of pyruvate. These two molecules then move on to the second phase of the cellular respiration process. The second phase, or the Krebs cycle, begins when the pyruvate molecules enter the mitochondrion. The Krebs cycle ends in a complete breakdown of the glucose molecule. During this phase, six carbon atoms combine with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide. The energy produced through chemical bonds in the Krebs cycle is then stored in a series of molecules. The electron transport phase involves the transformation of the energy produced in the Krebs cycle to ATP. As the energy is released, it travels down structures called electron transport chains, which are located in the mitochondrion. The energy makes hydrogen ions move across the inner membrane into the intermembrane space. Hydrogen ions then move back across the membrane with the help of channel proteins called ATP synthase. The end result of glycolysis is that it produces four molecules of ATP, which means that two molecules of ATP are gained during glycolysis.

Aerobic and Anaerobic Cellular Respiration
Cellular respiration can be performed with and without oxygen. Cellular respiration that requires oxygen is called aerobic respiration. Cellular respiration that does not need oxygen is called anaerobic respiration. Anaerobic respiration first appeared when the earliest life forms arose on Earth and did not have access to oxygen. Oxygen began appearing on Earth around two or three billion years ago. At that point, living organisms could begin using oxygen to produce ATP. Most organisms use aerobic respiration instead of anaerobic respiration.

Uses of Cellular Respiration
Plants and animals both use cellular respiration to perform life functions on a daily basis. Plants use it to perform photosynthesis, which provides the sustenance they need to stay alive. However, plants have a reverse cycle of cellular respiration, which produces oxygen as an end product. Animals take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide. This delicate balance makes animals and plants dependent on each other for survival.