Mitochondria are known as the powerhouse of cells because the energy required for various chemical activities needed for life is released by mitochondria in the form of ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) molecules.
Mitochondria are membrane-bound organelles present in the cytoplasm of all eukaryotic cells, that produces adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the main energy molecule used by the cell.
Why the powerhouse of a cell?
The “Powerhouse of the cell,” mitochondria (singular: mitochondrion) are a double membrane-bound organelle found in most eukaryotic organisms. They are found inside the cytoplasm and essentially functions as the cell’s “digestive system.” They play a major role in breaking down nutrients and generating energy-rich molecules for the cell. Many of the biochemical reactions involved in cellular respiration take place within the mitochondria.
Following are the functions of Mitochondria
- Controls the metabolic activity of the cell
- Encourages the growth of new cells and cell multiplication
- Aids in detoxifying ammonia in the liver cells
- Performs an important role in apoptosis or programmed cell death
- Responsible for building certain parts of the blood and various hormones like testosterone and oestrogen
- Helps in maintaining an adequate concentration of calcium ions within the compartments of the cell
- It is also included in various cellular activities like cellular differentiation, cell signalling, cell senescence, controlling the cell cycle and also in cell growth.