Krebs cycle facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

The Krebs cycle (or citric acid cycle) is a part of cellular respiration. Named after Hans Krebs, it is a series of chemical reactions used by all aerobic organisms to generate energy. Its importance to many biochemical pathways suggests that it was one of the earliest parts of cellular metabolism to evolve.

The Krebs cycle comes after the link reaction and provides the hydrogen and electrons needed for the electron transport chain. It takes place inside mitochondria.


The diagram below shows how this part of respiration is an ever-repeating cycle which produces ATP and gives off CO2. The ATP is a molecule which carries energy in chemical form to be used in other cell processes. To summarize:

  • Two molecules of carbon dioxide are given off
  • One molecule of ATP is formed
  • Three molecules of NAD+ are combined with hydrogen (NAD+ → NADH)
  • One molecule of FAD combines with hydrogen (FAD → FADH2)

Because two acetyl-CoA molecules are produced from each glucose molecule, two cycles are required per glucose molecule. Therefore, at the end of two cycles, the products are: two ATP, six NADH2, two FADH2 two QH2 (ubiquinol) and four CO2.

Citric acid cycle with aconitate 2
Overview of the citric acid cycle

Related pages

Krebs cycle Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.