As we all know, respiration is a vital function of the body and is necessary for all living organisms. In addition, respiration provides energy to the organisms to perform all the life processes. Let us know about aerobic and anaerobic respiration in detail. Furthermore, we will be discussing the differences between the types of respiration.

Author – Parisa Gupta

What is respiration?

“Respiration is the chemical process of breaking down sugar into simple molecules, to generate energy.”

Thus, it is the process in the living organisms for the production of energy. Respiration is necessary for all living organisms, whether it is a microbe, a plant, or an animal.  

Types of Respiration

Depending on the requirement of oxygen respiration is classified into two types:

  1. Aerobic respiration
  2. Anaerobic respiration.

Aerobic respiration:

It is the process that takes place in the presence of oxygen gas to produce energy. Birds and mammals respire anaerobically. Here, the end products of aerobic respiration are water and carbon dioxide.

The chemical reaction for aerobic respiration is:

C6H12O6 (Glucose) + 6O2 (Oxygen) → 6CO(Carbon Dioxide) + 6H2O (Water)+ energy (as ATP)

Also, this scheme provides ATP and metabolic intermediates, which are the precursor for various pathways in the cell, such as carbohydrates, lipid, and protein synthesis.

In addition, there are different stages that occur in aerobic respiration, namely, Glycolysis, the Krebs cycle, and Oxidative phosphorylation.


Anaerobic respiration:

It is the process that takes place in the absence of oxygen gas to produce energy. It is most commonly found in microbes and lower organisms. Moreover, the end products of anaerobic respiration are ethanol and carbon dioxide.

The chemical reaction for anaerobic respiration is given below:

C6H12O6 (glucose) → 2C3H6O3 (Lactic Acid) + Energy

Also, anaerobic respiration produces energy that is required at the time of high energy demand in tissues. The energy can be obtained quickly, however, it is not much when we compare it to aerobic respiration.

Anaerobic respiration is further classified into two types, based upon the end product as the end product:

  1. Alcoholic fermentation
  2. Lactic acid fermentation

Alcoholic fermentation: It occurs in micro-organisms such as yeast. It converts glucose to energy, which consequently discharges carbon dioxide. The resultant by-product is ethanol or ethyl alcohol, and hence the name.

Lactic acid fermentation: It occurs in micro-organisms such as bacteria, yeast, and muscle cells. Since its by-product is lactate, as a result, it is called lactic acid fermentation.


Difference between Aerobic Respiration and Anaerobic Respiration

No.Aerobic RespirationAnaerobic Respiration
1.It is the breakdown of glucose in the presence of oxygen.The breakdown of glucose in the absence of oxygen is known as anaerobic respiration.
2.The exchange of gases takes place here.There is no exchange of gases in anaerobic respiration.
3.Products of the breakdown are carbon dioxide, water, and energy.Products of the breakdown are ethanol or lactic acid (depending on the type), carbon dioxide, and energy.
4.Aerobic respiration releases more energy.It releases less energy.
5.ATP produced in aerobic respiration is 36 (a large amount of energy).ATP produced in anaerobic respiration is 2 (a small amount of energy).
6.Aerobic respiration is found in the cytoplasm as well as in the mitochondria.Anaerobic respiration is only found in the cytoplasm.
7.It is more common in plants and animals like birds, mammals.Anaerobic respiration occurs in bacteria, yeast, and other lower organisms.
8.It is a long process, therefore, a slow process.It is a fast process.
Table differentiating aerobic respiration from anaerobic respiration.

Also, in humans at the time of rigorous exercise, we feel pain in our muscles this pain is due to lactic acid production which shows anaerobic respiration.

Furthermore, Adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, is the energy currency of the cell. Since there is a difference in the energy, the number of ATP produced is also different, as discussed in point 5.

Moreover, if we calculate the efficiency of aerobic respiration, it is roughly 18 times more efficient as compared to anaerobic respiration.


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