Difference Between Aerobic Respiration vs. Anaerobic Respiration

Main Difference

Respiration is the process carried by organisms to use their food energy, and it is of two types: Aerobic respiration and Anaerobic respiration. Both are the chemical process carried out inside the cell to produce or use energy. Aerobic respiration is the type of respiration process done by organisms to use energy given by food and nutrients, whereas anaerobic respiration is the partial or incomplete breakdown of sugar molecules to release energy. One of the key differences between aerobic respiration and anaerobic respiration is that aerobic respiration is carried out in the presence of oxygen and it is a complete breakdown of sugar molecule while anaerobic respiration is carried out in the absence of oxygen to produce energy and it is a usually a partial breakdown of sugar molecules. In normal condition or mild work aerobic respiration take place and it is preferred over anaerobic respiration because it provides maximum energy by a complete breakdown of food molecules.

Comparison Chart

Aerobic RespirationAnaerobic Respiration
OrganismsAerobic respiration is common in higher organisms.Anaerobic respiration is common in microorganisms.
OxygenAerobic respiration takes place in the presence of oxygen.Anaerobic respiration takes place in the absence of oxygen.
Breakdown of Sugar MoleculesAerobic respiration has a complete breakdown of sugar molecules.Anaerobic respiration has an incomplete breakdown of sugar molecules.
Amount of EnergyAerobic respiration produces a large amount of energy; it produces 36 ATP molecules.Anaerobic respiration produces a small amount of energy; it produces 2 ATP molecules.
Lactic Acid or EthanolAerobic respiration does not produce lactic acid or ethanol, so it is non-toxic.Anaerobic respiration produces lactic acid or ethanol, so it is toxic.

What is Aerobic Respiration?

Aerobic respiration is the type of respiration that takes place in the presence of oxygen. In this process, the sugar molecules are completely utilized or broken down to have the maximum amount of energy. Aerobic respiration has CO2 and H2O as its end products. Its equation is as follows:

C6H12O6 + 6O2 à 6CO2 + 6H2O + 686 K.cal.

Aerobic respiration is common in higher organisms (plants and animals), it is a continuous process that is permanently found in all life of an organism. A big advantage of this process is that it is non-toxic and energy that is released is maximum in the form of ATP. Steps involved in aerobic respiration are glycolysis, Krebs cycle, electron transport chain. The site of occurrence of aerobic respiration is cytoplasm and mitochondria of the cell. It does not produce lactic acid or ethanol, so it is non-toxic.

What is Anaerobic Respiration?

Anaerobic respiration is the type of respiration that takes place in the absence of oxygen. In this process, the sugar molecules are incompletely utilized or broken down to have energy. Anaerobic respiration has CO2 and ethanol as its end products. Its equation is as follows:

C6H12O6 à 2C2H5OH + 2CO2 + 56 K.cal.

Anaerobic respiration is common in lower organisms (microorganisms) and rarely seen in higher organisms; it is a continuous process that is permanently found in all life of an anaerobic microorganism. A disadvantage of this process is that it is toxic and energy that is released is not maximum in the form of 2 ATP molecules. Steps involved in anaerobic respiration are glycolysis, Krebs cycle, electron transport chain. The site of occurrence of the aerobic respiration is also cytoplasm and mitochondria of the cell. It produces lactic acid or ethanol, so it is toxic.

Aerobic Respiration vs. Anaerobic Respiration

  • Aerobic respiration is common in higher organisms, whereas anaerobic respiration is common in microorganisms.
  • Aerobic respiration takes place in the presence of oxygen, while anaerobic respiration takes place in the absence of oxygen.
  • Aerobic respiration has a complete breakdown of sugar molecules, whereas anaerobic respiration has an incomplete breakdown of sugar molecules.
  • Aerobic respiration produces a large amount of energy, it produces 36 ATP molecules, on the other hand; anaerobic respiration produces a small amount of energy; it produces 2 ATP molecules.
  • Aerobic respiration does not produce lactic acid or ethanol, so it is non-toxic, while anaerobic respiration produces lactic acid or ethanol, so it is toxic.

Comparison Video

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