How can I teach that glucose has a lot of energy and
connect this to bonding/electron configuration?
I would emphasize the dipoles created by all those oxygens. Those negative
charges (created by electrons concentrated in one part of a chemical
structure) are attracted to positive charges. That means they are ready to
jump to the nearest positive charge (usually in another molecule) at the
The result of that charge imbalance is that every carbon:oxygen bond has lots
of potential chemical energy stored in it, much like gravity provides
potential energy for a ball to roll down a hill. Breaking down glucose at
each of those C-O bonds to make H2O and CO2 is exothermic and releases
energy. If that energy is released in a controlled way (one bond at a time
by an enzymatic reaction), it can be harnessed to provides the energy to d
rive reactions important for the cell.
Christine Ticknor, Ph.D.
Case Western Reserve University
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Update: June 2012