I'm super confused about this, as different sources are saying different things; I'm assuming my textbook is wrong, but I don't want to write something different to what the exam board is expecting!
I'm going to try to write out what I think is right to try and clear my head, aha. NADH is oxidised at complex I, the first e- carrier in the ETC. Its two electrons are donated to the complex, and the energy produced from this oxidation reaction pumps the protons across into the intermembrane space. The electrons then progress through complexes II, III and IV, and the energy from their transferal from complex to complex pumps H+ across at complexes III and IV. These three protons then diffuse back through the ATP synthase ion channel into the matrix, thereby creating three molecules of ATP per every one NADH molecule.
FADH is integrated into the second complex in the chain; however, the oxidation of FADH doesn't produce as much energy, so the H+ released from its oxidation just go into solution in the matrix. The electrons, however, still are passed onto complexes III and IV which do have the ability to pump protons, so for every molecule of FADH, 2 ATPs are produced.
That's what I've gathered from online (can someone correct me if not?); everywhere, however, says that the total number of ATPs produced is 38, whereas my book says 30. It says that the number of ATPs produced per every NADH is 2.6 (doesn't seem like a typo) and then it just says that FADH doesn't pump its protons across, but doesn't talk about what happens in regards to the movement of the electrons?!
I'm so confused, and as I said, I want to write the thing in exams that OCR wants me to!
Number of ATPs produced in oxidative phosphorylation
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