Everywhere I find the ATP yields of respiratory and fermentative metabolism of glycolysis. While that of oxidative phosphorilation I could find in Stryer to cite one study where this was addressed (Hinkle 1991 observed 30 ATP/glucose) I cannot find a study where the 2 ATP/glucose was observed and the textbooks I've searched do not provide a citation.

Can anyone please provide a link or citation to a paper where the ATP yield of fermentation (regardless of process) was quantified/estimated?


  • $\begingroup$ See discussion of this paper. $\endgroup$ – Dexter Nov 4 '15 at 5:50

For glycolysis this is really not so much of an issue, because the ATP yield is fixed by stoichiometry. The early biochemistry work by Embden, Meyerhof, Parnas and other that mapped out the reaction mechanisms of the glycolytic pathway shows that you always obtain exactly 2 ATP per glucose; this is simply the stoichiometry of those reactions. There are a number of primary papers documenting these reaction mechanisms, but it's a large undertaking to go through all of it; the glycolysis chapter of Stryer's Biochemistry is a good summary I think. A brief review of the historical development is described in: "A Fresh View of Glycolysis and Glucokinase Regulation: History and Current Status".

For respiration it's very different, since there is no fixed stoichiometry for chemiosmosis --- the ATP yield depends on the proton gradient across the inner mitochondrial membrane, which in turn depends on a number of factors. So in this case ATP yield will differ between cell types and conditions, and must be measured experimentally.

  • $\begingroup$ Interesting paper with the historical background, nice to read. $\endgroup$ – Chris Nov 5 '15 at 7:50

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