11 Difference between Aerobic and Anaerobic Respiration (With Table)

Cellular respiration is the process where metabolic reactions occur in the cell to break down nutrients to release small energy molecules in form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

The process is further subdivided into anaerobic and aerobic respiration. Research shows that aerobic respiration occurs in higher plants and animals. anaerobic respiration occurs in microorganisms such as yeasts. 

Both aerobic and anaerobic respiration needs glucose as a raw material to generate energy. But many people usually find it challenging to distinguish between aerobic and anaerobic respiration. 

So, what is the main difference between aerobic and anaerobic respiration? The former is where glucose is broken down in presence of oxygen while the latter is where glucose is broken down in absence of oxygen. 

This article provides further differences between aerobic and anaerobic respiration in a tabular form. Take the time to read through and learn how to write an equation of anaerobic respiration. 

Comparison Table (Aerobic Vs Anaerobic Respirations)

Basic TermsAerobic RespirationAnaerobic Respiration
DefinitionA molecular process that takes place in the presence of oxygenA molecular process that takes place in the absence of oxygen.
End ProductsWater, Carbon Dioxide, and EnergyLactic Acid and Energy
FunctionProvide energy for the brain and heartFacilitate the fermentation process in the beverage industry
Stage of OccurrenceHas two cycles as glycolysis and KrebsStages are glycolysis and fermentation.
Amount of EnergyTend to be too highTend to be too low
Process of CombustionCompleteIncomplete
LocationOccur from the cytoplasm to mitochondriaOccurs in the cytoplasm only
RequirementsOxygen and GlucoseGlucose only
Type of ProcessTakes a long to release energyOccur faster to release a small amount of energy
ExamplesOccur in EukaryotesOccur in muscles of Eukaryotes and all prokaryotes.
Chemical EquationGlucose + Oxygen gives Carbon dioxide +water + energyGlucose gives Lactic acid + energy

What Is Aerobic Respiration?

Aerobic respiration is a molecular process where glucose is broken down in the presence of oxygen to release waste products and a lot of energy.

The most common waste products produced during aerobic respiration are carbon dioxide and water. The process normally takes place in the mitochondria.

The energy released is known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Energy is essential in plants since it enhances photosynthesis to take place.

Here is the summary of the aerobic respiration equation:

C6H12O6 + 6O2 ________    6CO2 + 6H2O + Energy

Glucose Oxygen                               Carbon Dioxide Water

What Is Anaerobic Respiration?

Anaerobic respiration is another molecular process that takes place in the absence of oxygen and releases a small amount of energy.

The most common byproducts of anaerobic respiration are alcohol or lactic acid. The process is also known as fermentation.

Yeast is among some of the organisms that experience fermentation. The molecular process happens in the mitochondria.

Here is the summary of the anaerobic respiration equation:

C6H12O6 ______       2C3H6O3 +Energy

Glucose                                 Lactic Acid

Main Difference between Aerobic and Anaerobic Respirations

  1. Aerobic respiration is the breakdown of glucose in the presence of oxygen while anaerobic respiration is the breakdown of glucose in the absence of oxygen.
  2. Aerobic respiration occurs in the cytoplasm to mitochondria while anaerobic respiration occurs in the cytoplasm only.
  3. Aerobic respiration produces a high amount of energy of about 38 ATP whereas anaerobic respiration produces a low amount of energy of about 2 ATP.
  4. The end products of aerobic respiration are energy, carbon dioxide, and water while those of anaerobic respiration are lactic acid and energy.
  5. The requirements of aerobic respiration are glucose and oxygen whereas those of anaerobic respiration are glucose alone.
  6. Aerobic respiration undergoes stages such as Glycolysis, respiratory chain, and Krebs cycle while anaerobic respiration undergoes Glycolysis and fermentation.
  7. Aerobic respiration has a complete combustion process whereas anaerobic has an incomplete combustion process.
  8. Aerobic respiration is a long process that releases a large amount of energy while anaerobic respiration occurs faster but releases a small amount of energy.
  9. Higher plants and mammals are examples of living organisms that experience aerobic respiration while human muscles, bacteria, and yeast are examples of organisms that experience anaerobic respiration.

Similarities of Aerobic and Anaerobic Respiration

  1. Both occur in a multicellular and unicellular organism
  2. Both undergo the glycolysis stage.
  3. Both processes release energy
  4. Conversion of glucose into pyruvate acid occurs in both processes.
  5. Both start with sugar splitting 

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Summary

Energy is an essential factor in the body. It helps to facilitate various activities in plants and animals. Both anaerobic and aerobic respiration are chemical reactions that enhance the production of energy.

You should note that respiration and breathing are two different terms. Respiration is the breakdown of nutrients to release energy while breathing is all about inhalation of oxygen and exhalation of carbon dioxide.

More Sources and References.

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