Encyclopedia of Geobiology

2011 Edition
| Editors: Joachim Reitner, Volker Thiel

Aerobic Metabolism

  • Heribert Cypionka
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9212-1_6


Aerobic respiration; Oxygen metabolism


Aerobic metabolism comprises the reduction of molecular oxygen as electron acceptor of aerobic respiration, its use as cosubstrate in the degradation of certain compounds, and reactions leading to the detoxification of partially reduced oxygen species.


Life has evolved in the absence of molecular oxygen (see Chapter  Early Earth). Therefore, it is not surprising that basic metabolic pathways involved in growth and cell division (like DNA replication or protein synthesis) do not depend on the presence of molecular O2. The evolution of the oxygen-producing (oxygenic) phototrophs dramatically changed the situation of living organisms. Molecular oxygen raised the redox potential of the environment and enabled microorganisms to respire with a much higher energy yield than before. Although oxygen is involved in a limited number of reactions only, its presence or absence has fundamental impact on biogeochemical processes.


Respiratory Chain Aerobic Metabolism Aerobic Respiration Aerobic Degradation Anaerobic Organism 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heribert Cypionka
    • 1
  1. 1.University of OldenburgOldenburgGermany