04 Dec The discovery of “true” cellular respiration
The long history of mitochondria began in 1857 and is the result of work carried out by dozens of scientists. The first person to discover mitochondria was Swiss anatomist and physiologist Albert von Kolliker, who described the granule-like structures in muscle cells.
Richard Altmann further substantiated Kolliker’s discovery, terming the mitochondria “bioblasts” and hypothesizing that they were the basic units of cell activity. In 1898, Carl Benda coined the term “mitochondria”, taken from the Greek words “mitos” (thread) and “chondros” (granules), reflecting their shape. Sir Hans Adolf Krebs received the Nobel prize for medicine in 1953 for his discovery of the Krebs cycle in 1937. The Krebs cycle occurs in the mitochondria of eukaryotic cells and in the cytoplasm of prokaryotic cells, and is one of the three stages of cellular respiration (glycolysis, Krebs cycle and electron transport chain) which produce energy from a glucose molecule, namely sugar.