help with Oxygen!, please read, BioChem

have the following questionss:

as med student i had to read biochemestry while i was on 2nd grade...anyway, i read several times in different books that the equations for the oxidative phosphorilation were as follow (regarding the oxygen of course)

1/2 O2 + 2H+ (among other things) = H2O
or 1/2 O2 + H2 = H20 <-- though i dont know if this equation is correct

now, onto the questions:

1) why 1/2 O2? why not simple O? i know that the oxygen is found in its molecular state in nature, but, that leads me to the other question:

2) i havent seen in any biochem book the proportion that it should really be, chemistrically speaking: 2H2 + O2 = H2O, why is that? - lets asumme that actually the final reaction only gives one water molecule (within the body), and then again, that leads me to the next question:

3) if its always used 1/2 O2 + 2H+, what happens to the other oxygen atom? as i recall, oxygen has a covalent bond, thus, it would need a lot of energy to break it or so i think, any thoughts?

i know this is a chemistry forum, but i think somebody can help me with this, thanks,

by the way, main question...why 1/2 O2 ?!?!, hehe

rick hunter


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Your thinking of the (1/2) as an actuall molecule. The (1/2) is considered an equivalent. Meaning if you take 1 mole of H2 you will need (1/2)mole of O2 to react with it. Hope that helps.

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