University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Global Oxygen And Carbon Cycles
The global carbon cycle involves the generation of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the processing of oxygen (O2) during the process of metabolism. The chemical reaction involved in this process is depicted below: C6H12O6 + 6O2 ? 6CO2 + 6H2O + energy (ATP) For each molecule of glucose (C6H12O6) and six molecules of oxygen (O2), six molecules of carbon dioxide and six molecules of water (H2O) are created. This reaction also involves the creation of energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is the unit of measurement for energy in biological organisms.
The oxygen cycle, on the other hand, is almost the same as the carbon cycle yet it follows the opposite direction, as depicted in the chemical reaction below: 6CO2 + 6H2O + energy > C6H12O6 + 6O2 The oxygen and carbon cycles are thus related because each of these biogeochemical cycles requires the presence of the other molecule. In the case of the global oxygen cycle, enough carbon dioxide should be available in order for plants to continuously perform photosynthesis that will generate simple sugars such as glucose and the essential atmospheric gas oxygen (Cloud and Gibor, 1970).
As for the case of the carbon cycle, it is also necessary the ample oxygen gas be present at all times, which in turns originates from the oxygen cycle, in order for this cycle to proceed. Should there be a situation wherein carbon dioxide or oxygen is insufficient in the atmosphere, the other biogeochemical cycle is affected and may possibly be prevented from completing the reaction.
Reference Cloud P and Gibor A (1970): The oxygen cycle. Scientific American 122:110-123.