Photosynthesis is the process in plants wherein they convert light energy from the sun into stored chemical energy in the form of simple sugar (glucose). It takes place in the chloroplasts which have chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is also the catalyst that is responsible for converting sunlight into chemical energy (Chemistry, 2005). On the other hand, respiration is the process of oxidizing food molecules (i.e. glucose) to water and carbon dioxide (Carter, 1996). Also, it is a process that uses energy to make ATP which is then used to give power so that the cell can immediately and efficiently function (www.staff.jccc.net, 2002). These two processes go hand-in-hand so that cells can function well. However, no matter how dependent they are on each other, they also have their differences.
- 6CO2 + 6H2O + Light Energy = C6H12O6 + 6O2;
- C6H12O6+6O2 ———-> 6CO2+6H2O+36ATP (www.globalchange.umich.edu, 2004).
- Light and Dark Reactions;
- Three stages: Glycolysis, Krebs Cycle, Electron Transport Phophorylation.
- Grana; wherein the chlorophyll is located. (www.chemsoc.org, 2005);
- Initiated in the cytoplasm and completed in the mitochondria. (Falk, 2000) (www.athene.as.arizona.edu, 2006).
- Glucose (Simple sugar), Oxygen (a by-product), Carbohydrates, Water;
- Mostly carbon dioxide.
Basically, the mitochondrion is the powerhouse of the cell. They are usually rod-shaped and are with two membranes. Chiefly, the mitochondrion is divided into two layers and each layer has an important role in processing the end products. The membrane is embedded with the chemicals that are needed that turn food into energy. Over time, humans accumulate low-abundance somatic mtDNA; and now, this has been proposed as a potential contributor to aging and diseases.
There are now countless scientists who are studying the relationship between the two. The most recent one is the tissue-specific mtDNA that was observed in the myocardium of the control subjects (not necessarily alive) (Kajander, Karhunen, & Jacobs, 2001). Meanwhile, in the disease aspect of the mtDNA, there have also been studies wherein they said that the reactive oxygen species that generate inside the cell will lead to rising amounts of oxidative damage to various cell components, and with the accumulation of mtDNA mutations, the respiratory system will be impaired and will consequently lead to the formation of degenerative diseases (and aging) (Trifunovic A, 2005).
Based on the facts presented above, it only shows that there is enough evidence that indeed, the mitochondria themselves and their processes as well contribute to aging. And based on this premise, we can conduct experiments to further prove these hypotheses (“A Primer on Photosynthesis and the Functioning of Cells,” 2004). Since all of the previous experiments that were conducted were mostly done on laboratory mice and non-living organisms, and there is no harder proof that it also works for humans, we will also conduct an experiment that will not use human variables (because of some bioethics that would be involved). Instead, we will conduct this experiment using laboratory mice and applying it with a semi-quantitative fluorescent PCR assay to test the relationship of mitochondria with aging and also, impairing the respiratory system of the mice (with the assumption that it will augment ROS production that will consequently increase the rate of mtDNA mutation accumulation) to analyze if it has a relationship with the development of diseases.
Since most of the studies that were conducted showed significant but failed results (most of the reports state that mitochondrion is not directly associated with aging and diseases), it is best to propose to have better research on this subject matter. It will also be a good sign if the majority of the sponsors of the research will come from the government and with 100% support from the private sector and individuals. One crucial step that will ultimately push the research on this subject is that scientists should really know the topic (since most results showed failed tests) and from there, it is imperative that they should have a very good experimental design. The researchers should also be the best in their respective fields and lastly, they should have a clear objective of what they really want. Also, with the help from the private sector, this experiment will also require an ultra-modern design facility that can accommodate many important and simultaneous experiments so that it will be more efficient and faster results can be achieved.
This topic is relatively not new in the science community but for regular citizens, it remains an enigma. For the last 50 years or so, many scientists have tried to accomplish the real score and relationship between aging and the processes of the mitochondria. And, as we can see, the experiments prove to be most promising; but for the projects to be really successful, it needs all the cooperation not just of experts, supporters, and the government. More importantly, it should also be well supported and accepted by society as a whole and the future consumers as well (Falk, 2000).
- Cellular Respiration Overview [Electronic (2002). Version]. Retrieved October 15, 2007, from http://staff.jccc.net/PDECELL/cellresp/respintro.html.
- A Primer on Photosynthesis and the Functioning of Cells [Electronic (2004). Version]. Retrieved October 15, 2007, from http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange1/current/lectures/kling/energyflow/PSN_primer.html.
- Photosynthesis vs. Respiration [Electronic (2007). Version]. Retrieved October 13, 2007, from http://sciences.aum.edu/bi/BI4523/student/cardwell/phvre.html.
- , J. M. (1882). Respiration of Plants. Botanical Gazette, 7(7), 2.
- Carter, J. S. (1996). Cellular Respiration and Fermentation [Electronic Version]. Retrieved October 13, 2007, from http://biology.clc.uc.edu/Courses/bio104/cellresp.htm.
- Chemistry, R. S. o. (2005). Structure of chloroplast (Publication. Retrieved October 16, 2007, from RSC: http://www.chemsoc.org/networks/learnnet/cfb/photosynthesis.htm.
- Falk, R. H. (2000). Cellular Respiration (Publication. Retrieved October 15, 2007: http://www.biologie.uni-hamburg.de/b-online/library/falk/Respiration/respiration.htm.
- Kajander, O. A., Karhunen, P. J., & Jacobs, H. T. (2001). The Relationship between somatic mtDNA rearrangements, human heart disease and aging [Electronic Version]. Human Molecular Genetics, 11, 317-324. Retrieved October 16, 2007, from http://hmg.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/11/3/317.pdf.
- Trifunovic A, e. a. (2005). Somatic mtDNA mutations cause aging phenotypes without affecting reactive oxygen species production. (Publication. Retrieved 2005 Dec 27, from Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=16332961&dopt=AbstractPlus
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