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Monthly Archives: October 2017

the Citric Acid Cycle: Follow the money (electrons)

Classical citric acid cycle image

What makes the Citric Acid Cycle (Kreb’s cycle, TCA cycle) ‘hard’? Misdirection. When most of us sit down to learn something, the first question is usually “what is important here”. When trying to figure out a complicated process (Americans: think about the sport of cricket!), the questions are “What should I be looking at? And what am I seeing when I look there?”. It’s deeply ironic, then, that in looking at Introductory Biology textbooks, it’s incredibly difficult to spot an electron anywhere in representations of the citric acid cycle. This is bizarre, in that the cycle has only two jobs: 1) extract ‘high value’ (energetic) electrons, and 2) be a cycle so it can keep… cycling. A call for electron-watching and some suggestions for teaching electron flow through the citric acid cycle follow (Image source) Continue reading