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Redox (short for reduc on–oxida on reac on) is a chemical reac on in which the oxida on states of atoms are changed. Any such reac on involves both a reduc on process and a complementary oxida on process, two key concepts involved with electron transfer processes. Redox reac ons include all chemical reac ons in which atoms have their oxida on state changed; in general, redox reac ons involve the transfer of electrons between chemical species. The chemical species from which the electron is stripped is said to have been oxidized, while the chemical species to which the electron is added is said to have been reduced. It can be explained in simple terms: • Oxidation is the loss of electrons or an increase in oxida on state by, a molecule atom, or ion. • Reduction is the gain of electrons or a decrease in oxida on state by a molecule, atom, or ion. As an example, during the combus on of wood, oxygen from the air is reduced, transferring electrons from the carbon. Although oxida on reac ons are commonly associated with the forma on of oxides from oxygen molecules, oxygen is not necessarily included in such reac ons, as other chemical species can serve the same func on. The reac on can occur rela vely slowly, as in the case of rust, or more quickly, as in the case of fire. There are simple redox processes, such as the oxida on of carbon to yield carbon dioxide (CO2) or the reduc on of carbon by hydrogen to yield methane (CH4), and more complex processes such as the oxida on of glucose (C6H12O6) in the human body. What is Redox reactions in biology Many important biological processes involve redox reac ons. Cellular respira on, for instance, is the oxida on of glucose (C6H12O6) to CO2 and the reduc on of oxygen to water. The summary equa on for cell respira on is: C6H12O6 + 6 O2 → 6 CO2 + 6 H2O The process of cell respira on also depends heavily on the reduc on of NAD+ to NADH and the reverse reac on (the oxida on of NADH to NAD+). Photosynthesis and cellular respira on are complementary, but photosynthesis is not the reverse of the redox reac on in cell respira on: 6 CO2 + 6 H2O + light energy → C6H12O6 + 6 O2 Biological energy is frequently stored and released by means of redox reac ons. Photosynthesis involves the reduc on of carbon dioxide into sugars and the Redox? Page 46 | Abby's Magazine -

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