Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Oxygen and Aerobic Metabolism

Figure from experiment 22 from Human Physiology with Vernier


Oxygen plays a key role in aerobic cellular metabolism, facilitating the conversion of glucose, protein, and lipids into usable energy. For every 6 molecules of oxygen used in the breakdown of glucose, 6 molecules of carbon dioxide are produced, along with water and adenosine triphosphate (ATP), according to the following equation:

{{\text{C}}_{\text{6}}}{{\text{H}}_{{\text{12}}}}{{\text{O}}_{\text{6}}}{\text{  +  6 }}{{\text{O}}_{\text{2}}} \to {\text{6 C}}{{\text{O}}_{\text{2}}}{\text{  +  6 }}{{\text{H}}_{\text{2}}}{\text{O  +  energy (heat or ATP)}}

The average person uses 200–250 mL of O2 per minute at rest. This may increase to 2–3 L per minute during heavy exercise and to twice that amount in highly trained athletes. The increase of oxygen consumption is proportional to the amount of work performed up to a maximum level which is dependent on conditioning. At the start of exercise, anaerobic metabolism is used briefly, but this quickly changes to aerobic metabolism as blood flow to muscles increases.


In this experiment, you will

  • Obtain graphical representation of tidal volume and change in O2 concentration with breathing at rest and after exercise.
  • Calculate oxygen consumption at rest and after exercise.
  • Correlate your findings with clinical situations.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Standards Correlations

See all standards correlations for Human Physiology with Vernier »

Human Physiology with Vernier

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Warming Function of Nasal Passageways
2Effect of Vascularity on Skin Temperature Recovery
3Heart Rate as a Vital Sign
4Heart Rate and Exercise
5Heart Rate Response to Baroreceptor Feedback
6Effect of Coughing on Heart Rate
7Blood Pressure as a Vital Sign
8Blood Pressure and Exercise
9Diurnal Blood Pressure Variation
10Heart Rate and Blood Pressure as Vital Signs
11Heart Rate, Blood Pressure, and Exercise
12Analyzing the Heart with EKG
13Introduction to EMG
14ANeuromuscular Reflexes (with Accelerometer)
14BNeuromuscular Reflexes (without Accelerometer)
15Muscle Function Analysis
16Grip Strength Comparison
17Grip Strength and Muscle Fatigue
18EMG and Muscle Fatigue
19Lung Volumes and Capacities
20Respiratory Response to Physiologic Challenges
21Analysis of Lung Function
22Oxygen and Aerobic Metabolism
23Oxygen Extraction by the Lungs
24Effect of "Dead Space" on Oxygen Exchange

Experiment 22 from Human Physiology with Vernier Lab Book

<i>Human Physiology with Vernier</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

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