I am so confused because my book says it is electrons which are passed along the electron transport chain but all we are considering is hydrogen ions (H+) and hydride ions (H-). Can someone clear that up for me ?

  • $\begingroup$ ELECTRON transport chain. Hard to answer the other parts without more context from the book/class... $\endgroup$
    – Zhe
    Aug 2, 2017 at 14:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Zhe never mind it is electrons in the form of hydride ions. I found out from chem.libretexts.org $\endgroup$
    – Max white
    Aug 2, 2017 at 14:45

1 Answer 1


As explained on the Wikipedia page of the electron transport chain:

An electron transport chain (ETC) is a series of complexes that transfer electrons from electron donors to electron acceptors via redox (both reduction and oxidation occurring simultaneously) reactions, and couples this electron transfer with the transfer of protons (H+ ions) across a membrane.

Electron are thus transfered from the electron donor (NADH, H$^+$ produced by the TCA) to the electron acceptor (O$_2$) through the successive enzymatic complexes of the electron transport chain.

Complexes I, III and IV are proton (H$^+$) pumps: they use the energy gained thank to the electron transport in order to translocate protons across the membrane.


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