Case 2 The Oxidation of Glucose

Entropy is a state not only of energy but of matter. Aerobic (heterotrophic) organisms extract free en ergy from glucose obtained from their surroundings by oxidizing the glucose with O2, also obtained from the surroundings. The end products of this oxidative metabolism, CO2 and H2O, are returned to the surroundings. In this process the surroundings undergo an increase in entropy, whereas the organism itself remains in a steady state and undergoes no change in its internal order. Although some entropy arises from the dissipation of heat, entropy also arises from another kind of disorder, illustrated by the equation for the oxidation of glucose:

We can represent this schematically as

Glucose (a solid)"

12 molecules

H2O liquid)

The atoms contained in 1 molecule of glucose plus 6 molecules of oxygen, a total of 7 molecules, are more randomly dispersed by the oxidation reaction and are now present in a total of 12 molecules (6CO2 + 6H2O).

Whenever a chemical reaction results in an increase in the number of molecules—or when a solid substance is converted into liquid or gaseous products, which allow more freedom of molecular movement than solids—molecular disorder, and thus entropy, increases.

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