Metabolism is driven by redox reactions, in which part of the difference in potential energy between the electron donor and acceptor is used by the organism for its life processes (with the remainder being dissipated as heat). The key process is intermediary metabolism, by which the energy stored in reserves (glycogen, starch, lipid, protein) is transferred to ATP. In aerobic respiration the electrons released from reserves are passed to oxygen, which is thereby reduced to water. Not all ATP regeneration involves oxygen as the final electron acceptor, and not all oxygen is used for ATP regeneration, but oxygen consumption is often the simplest and most practical way to measure the rate of intermediary metabolism and the errors in doing so are believed to be small. The costs of existence, as estimated by resting metabolism, represent only a part (~ 25%) of the daily energy expenditure of organisms. The costs of the organism’s ecology (growth, reproduction, movement and so on) are additional to existence costs. Resting metabolic rate increases with cell temperature, indicating that it costs more energy to maintain a warm cell than it does a cool or cold cell. The temperature sensitivity of resting metabolism is highly conserved across organisms.
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