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Question

The value of R.Q. for a starved cell is

A
Zero.
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B
0.8 / less than one.
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C
1 / unit.
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D
Infinite.
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Solution

The correct option is B 0.8 / less than one.
During aerobic respiration, O2 is consumed and CO2 is released. The ratio of the volume of CO2 evolved to the volume of O2 consumed in respiration is called the respiratory quotient (RQ) or respiratory ratio. Thus the following expression is used to calculate the value of RQ.
RQ= volume of CO2 evolved/ volume of O2 consumed.
The respiratory quotient depends upon the type of respiratory substrate used during respiration. When carbohydrates are used as substrate and are completely oxidised, the RQ will be 1, because equal amounts of CO2 and O2 are evolved and consumed, respectively. When fats are used in respiration, the RQ is less than 1. When proteins are respiratory substrates the ratio would be about 0.9.
Under conditions of starvation carbohydrates are not available and proteins or fats are used as cellular fuel and hence the expected value of RQ is less than unity.

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