If the size of the text in this page is too small, please either turn javascript on or adjust the default text size of your browser.
MV Home Scientists & Discovery home
Home Chemicals Reactions dna Lightning Rainbows Light Gravity Radioactivity Scientists

Food and Energy

Chemical reactions occur in all living things. New hair or skin is produced through chemical reactions and chemical reactions occur when we move or grow. These reactions require energy.

Animals get their energy from the food they eat.

The energy in food is stored in chemical bonds that hold the atoms together to form sugars and other molecules.

Sugar reacts with oxygen in the cells of living organisms to produce carbon dioxide, water and energy in a series of reactions called cellular respiration. Energy is required to break the bonds holding sugar together but not as much as is released when new bonds form producing carbon dioxide and water molecules. The excess energy is released in a controlled way so it can be harnessed. If it were released all at once, as it would be if the sugar was burnt, the violence of the reaction would damage the cells.


Boy eating hamburger
We get our energy from food


Leadbeater's Possum
magnifyLeadbeater's Possum


Respiration reaction
magnifyRespiration reaction
© Museum Victoria Australia