12 Difference Between Aerobic Respiration And Anaerobic Respiration (With Diagram)

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Aerobic and anaerobic respiration are the two common types of cellular respiration. Cellular respiration is a set of metabolic reactions that take place in cells of organisms to convert biochemical energy from nutrients into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and then release waste products. Many cells can perform either aerobic or anaerobic respiration, depending on whether oxygen is available. In this article, get to understand the underlying differences between aerobic and anaerobic respiration.

What Is Aerobic Respiration?

Aerobic respiration takes place in the mitochondria and can be described as the breakdown of glucose in presence of oxygen to produce more amounts of energy. Oxygen is a very important requirement in order to produce energy/ ATP(adenosine Triphosphate). Although in the process fats, proteins and carbohydrates are consumed as reactants, it is the preferred method of pyruvate breakdown in glycolysis and requires that pyruvate enter the mitochondria in order to be fully oxidized by the Kreb’s cycle. The products of this process are carbon dioxide and water, but energy transferred is used to break bonds in ADP as the third phosphate group is added to form ATP, by substrate-level phosphorylation, NADH and FADH2.

In aerobic cells, the electron transport chain, and most of the chemical reactions of respiration, occurs in the mitochondria. The mitochondria’s system of membranes makes the process much more efficient by concentrating the chemical reactants of respiration in one small place. Humans and other animals rely on aerobic respiration to stay alive, but can extend their cells lives or performance in the absence of oxygen by using forms of anaerobic respiration.

Aerobic Respiration

What You Need To Know About Aerobic Respiration

  • Aerobic respiration can be described as the breakdown of glucose in presence of oxygen to produce more amounts of energy.
  • It is a permanent process that continues throughout the life of plants and animals.
  • Aerobic respiration takes place in the cytoplasm and mitochondria.
  • Aerobic respiration is very much common in animals, human beings and higher plants.
  • The end products of aerobic respiration are ATP, carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O).
  • Aerobic respiration involves Glycolysis, the respiratory chain (electron transport and oxidative phosphorylation) and Kreb’s cycle also referred to as (Tricarboxylic acid cycle or citric acid cycle).
  • The amount of energy released during aerobic respiration is very high (between 36 to 38 ATP). This due to the fact that the glucose is fully oxidized.
  • It requires oxygen and glucose to produce energy.
  • The heart and brain requires aerobic respiration to receive energy so as to keep a human being alive.
  • Aerobic respiration is a long process for the production of energy.
  • The process of aerobic respiration is non-toxic to both plants and animals.

Also Read: Difference Between Normal Respiration And Photorespiration

 What Is Anaerobic Respiration?

Anaerobic respiration can be described as the breakdown of glucose in the absence of oxygen to produce energy. It can also be described as the process of creating energy without the presence of oxygen. The purpose of anaerobic respiration is to restore stocks of NAD+ because the molecule is very important in Glycolysis. By restoring NAD+ through anaerobic pathways, the organism can continue to produce ATP through Glycolysis.

During anaerobic respiration in plants and yeasts, the pyruvate is converted into ethanol and carbon dioxide whereas during anaerobic respiration in animals, the pyruvate is converted into lactic (or lactates).

In anaerobic cells, respiration takes place in the cytoplasm, since most anaerobic cells do not have specialized organelles.  Most cells that use anaerobic respiration are bacteria or archaea. The series of reactions is usually shorter and uses an electron acceptor such as sulfate, nitrate, sulfur or fumarate instead of oxygen.

Anaerobic Cellular Respiration

What You Need To Know About Anaerobic Respiration

  • Anaerobic respiration can be described as the breakdown of glucose in the absence of oxygen to produce energy.
  • It is a permanent process in anaerobic microorganisms but a temporary process in higher plants and animals only under anaerobic condition.
  • Anaerobic respiration takes place in the cytoplasm only.
  • Anaerobic respiration is common in certain microorganism (yeast, some bacteria, protozoa, fungi and parasitic worms) but very rare in all higher plants and animals.
  • The end products of anaerobic respiration are ATP, carbon dioxide (CO2), Ethanol (CHOOH) or Lactic Acid (C3H6O3).   .
  • Anaerobic respiration involves Glycolysis and fermentation.
  • The amount of energy released in the anaerobic respiration is low. The energy released is only 5% of energy available in glucose as glucose is not fully oxidized.
  • Anaerobic respiration does not require oxygen but only uses glucose to produce energy.
  • Anaerobic respiration plays a big role in beverage industry especially during fermentation of yeast to produce ethyl alcohol or ethanol.
  • Anaerobic respiration is a fast process of energy production when compared to aerobic respiration.
  • The process of anaerobic respiration is often toxic to both plants and animals.
  • Both organic and inorganic compounds may be used as electron acceptors in anaerobic respiration. Inorganic compounds include nitrate (NO3 ) and ferric iron (Fe 3+ ). Organic compounds include DMSO.
  • Reduction of certain inorganic compounds by anaerobic microbes often has some ecological significance.

Also Read: Difference Between Glycolysis And Kreb’s Cycle

Aerobic Vs Anaerobic Respiration In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON AEROBIC RESPIRATION ANAEROBIC RESPIRATION
Description Aerobic respiration can be described as the breakdown of glucose in presence of oxygen to produce more amounts of energy.   Anaerobic respiration can be described as the breakdown of glucose in the absence of oxygen to produce energy.  
Nature It is a permanent process that continues throughout the life of plants and animals.   It is a permanent process in anaerobic microorganisms but a temporary process in higher plants and animals only under anaerobic condition.  
Occurrence It takes place in the cytoplasm and mitochondria.   It takes place in the cytoplasm only.  
Presence It is very much common in animals, human beings and higher plants.   It is common in certain microorganism (yeast, some bacteria, protozoa, fungi and parasitic worms) but very rare in all higher plants and animals.  
End Products The end products of are ATP, carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O).   The end products are ATP, carbon dioxide (CO2), Ethanol (CHOOH) or Lactic Acid (C3H6O3).  
What It Entails It involves Glycolysis, the respiratory chain (electron transport and oxidative phosphorylation) and Kreb’s cycle also referred to as (Tricarboxylic acid cycle or citric acid cycle).   It involves Glycolysis and fermentation.  
Energy Released The amount of energy released during aerobic respiration is very high (between 36 to 38 ATP). The amount of energy released in the anaerobic respiration is low.
Necessity Of Oxygen It requires oxygen and glucose to produce energy.   It does not require oxygen but only uses glucose to produce energy.  
Application In Real Life The heart and brain requires aerobic respiration to receive energy so as to keep a human being alive.   It plays a big role in beverage industry especially during fermentation of yeast to produce ethyl alcohol or ethanol.  
Nature Of Process It is a long process for the production of energy.   It is a fast process of energy production when compared to aerobic respiration.  
Toxicity The process of aerobic respiration is non-toxic to both plants and animals.   The process of anaerobic respiration is often toxic to both plants and animals.  

What Are Some Of The Similarities Between Aerobic And Anaerobic Respiration?

  • Both aerobic and anaerobic respiration involves chemical reactions which take place in the cell to produce energy, which is needed for active processes.
  • Both aerobic and anaerobic respiration uses an electron transport chain to move energy from its long-term storage in sugars to a more usable form.
  • Both aerobic and anaerobic respiration utilizes highly reduced chemical compounds such as NADH and FADH2.
  • Both aerobic and anaerobic respiration starts with the process of Glycolysis (sugar splitting).
  • Both are processes result in production of energy.
  • In both processes, carbon dioxide is released as the final product.
  • After Glycolysis, both anaerobic and aerobic cells send the two halves of glucose through a long chain of chemical reactions to generate more ATP and extract electrons for use in their electron transport chain.