Rate of Cellular Respiration as a Function of Temperature and Cell Type

Initializing live version
Download to Desktop

Requires a Wolfram Notebook System

Interact on desktop, mobile and cloud with the free Wolfram Player or other Wolfram Language products.

While all cells respire to produce energy in the form of ATP, they do not function at the same rate. The rate of cellular respiration depends on the cell type, as well as on various other factors such as temperature. The relationship between temperature, cell type and the rate of cellular respiration for a cell can be represented by a modified Arrhenius equation:



where is the rate constant for a given cell, is the temperature at which the value was measured (in this case, 298 K), is the gas constant 8.3145 J , is the temperature and is the resulting rate for the given .

In the graphic, the rates of respiration as a function of cell type and temperature are represented by exponential plots. Also shown is an animation of the cell with oxygen input and water output from mitochondria, scaled by the relative rates. Oxygen consumption can be used as a proxy for the rate of cell respiration, in view of the simplified chemical equation: The values have been selected based on data from the measurement of oxygen consumption/protein production. The movement of other reactants and products through the cell, other intermediates and substrates, is neglected.

For best viewing, we suggest manipulating the temperature slider, then moving the time slider.


Contributed by: Beth Shrosbree and Lily Upp (October 2018)
Additional contributions by: Eitan Geva (University of Michigan)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA



[1] B. A. Wagner, S. Venkataraman and G. R. Buettner, "The Rate of Oxygen Utilization by Cells" Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 51(3), 2011 pp. 700–712. doi:10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2011.05.024.

Submission from the Compute-to-Learn course at the University of Michigan.


Feedback (field required)
Email (field required) Name
Occupation Organization
Note: Your message & contact information may be shared with the author of any specific Demonstration for which you give feedback.