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PinkMonkey Online Study Guide-Biology

5.1 Ultrastructure and functions of Mitochondrion

Mitochondria are the special protoplasmic organelles distributed in the cytoplasm of eukaryotic cells. Mitochondria contain the biochemical machinery involved in cellular respiration which take energy from breakdown of glucose and produce energy-rich ATP molecule which fuel the biochemecal reactions in the rest of the cell. Hence, mitochondria are described as the ‘power houses’ of cells.

Mitochondria were first observed by Altmann (1894). Hogeboom (1948) discovered that mitochondria are the site of aerobic respiration.

Ultrastructure (Figure 5.1) Mitochondria are microscopic and granular or cylindrical,

Figure. 5.1 A mitochondrion in section
Ultrastructure of a mitochondrion

And are bound by two lipo-protein membranes called outer and inner membranes. These are separated from each other by the inter-membrane space.


The outer membrane is smooth, while the inner membrane is highly folded. The folds are called cristae, and project into the inner space of the mitochondrion and appear finger-shaped in the section.

The internal space of the mitochondrion (enclosed within the folded inner membrane) is filled with dense proteinaceous material and is called the matrix. It contains small ribosomes and mitochondrial DNA (DNA) invited in the replication of mitochondria. The matrix also contains all the enzymes required for the Kreb’s cycle reactions during the second phase of aerobic respiration.


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Table of Contents

5.0 - Introduction
5.1 - Ultrastructure and Functions of Mitochondrion
5.2 - An Overview of Cellular Respiration
5.3 - Glycolysis
5.4 - The T.C.A. Cycle(Tricarboxylic Acid Cycle)
5.5 - Electron Transport Chain
5.6 - Fermentation
5.7 - Significance of Respiration

Chapter 6





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