Difference Between Respiration and Fermentation

Primary Difference

Every living thing needs some sort of energy in order to survive and perform the basic tasks that they do in daily life. There are many ways to do that, every organism has its own way of doing it, this energy can be taken from the sunlight, water or even land resources since it is abundantly available. The energy is then utilized by living beings through different processes and two such processes are known as Respiration and Fermentation. Since human beings survive on oxygen the process of respiration gives the best opportunity to perform these tasks but in some cases when it is not there, other means have to be found which lead to fermentation. There are marked differences between these two processes which will be discussed in detail here. From the above mentioned statement is can be said that a process that requires oxygen for its completion is known as respiration while the process which does not require it, is known as fermentation. By the definition, it can be said that fermentation is the process in which sugar is converted into other forms such as alcohol and acids. On the other hand, respiration is the process in which oxygen is converted into carbon dioxide with the help of other organic substances. The process of respiration occurs in living organisms such as humans, animals and even insects while the process of fermentation occurs in living beings such as bacteria and yeast. Since respiration occurs in bigger creatures the amount of ATP generated is relatively more, while in smaller creatures the ATP generated is very low since fermentation occurs in them. The ratio between these two processes of generation is 17:1 in most cases. Therefore, it can be said that respiration produces more ATP as compared to fermentation. Another difference between them is that respiration can be aerobic and anaerobic while fermentation is always anaerobic. Another way of differentiating between them is that respiration occurs in larger creatures as well as smaller ones while fermentation only occurs in the smaller ones. In the case of smaller beings, the process of respiration takes place in the cytoplasm and moves onto the mitochondria while fermentation cannot be carried out in the mitochondria. There are many other ways of showing that these two terms are different and in any case there are very few similarities between them, detailed explanation of two types and differences in bullet forms are given at the end.

Comparison Chart

RespirationFermentation
DefinitionIt is the process in which human beings take in oxygen which is produced from plants and convert it into carbon dioxide and spread it out in the atmosphere.Organisms which do not have the ability to intake oxygen are the ones who require this process which is carried out when there is no oxygen available.
ProcessThe process of converting oxygen into carbon dioxideThe process of converting sugar into other substances.
Occurrenceoccurs in both smaller and larger organismsOccurs in smaller organisms.
ExampleHuman beings and animals.Bacteria and yeast.

Definition of Respiration

In simple words it is the process in which human beings take in oxygen which is produced from plants and convert it into carbon dioxide and spread it out in the atmosphere. This process is of two types, aerobic respiration and anaerobic respiration and there are very few variations between them. The only difference between them is in the chemical reaction where the last molecule is not of oxygen for some organisms. It is said that the process of aerobic is the newest form while anaerobic respiration has been there since the ancient times. This process requires sunlight and takes place in human beings along with animals and some other smaller ones too but mostly is for the bigger species. In the first step it creates 2 ATP with the help of a carbon dioxide molecule and then ends up creating pyruvate. It is the essential process with the help of which living things are able to survive since without respiration there will be no intakes our outgoing substances which create imbalance in the atmosphere. Plants play an important role in this since they are the biggest natural supplier of oxygen on earth.

Definition of Fermentation

Organisms which do not have the ability to intake oxygen are the ones who require this process which is carried out when there is no oxygen available. In this process which sugar is converted into other forms such as alcohol and acids. The number of ATP produced in this process initially are equal to respiration but then the number does not change as stays on original making it the process with the lowest number. It takes place in smaller organisms such as yeast and does not require any sunlight or other sources to carry itself out. The process has been existent for a long time and is called the one which has been there even before respiration. This process takes place in human body too, where lactic acid fermentation takes place but mostly bigger organisms are not dependent on it. The process does not require mitochondria in the cell and can be carried out elsewhere. It does not always produce pyruvate and other products are possible.

Differences in a Nutshell

  1. Process which requires oxygen for its function is known as respiration while the process which does not require oxygen to carry itself out is known as fermentation.
  2. The process of converting oxygen into carbon dioxide is known as respiration while the process of converting sugar into other substances is known as fermentation.
  3. The process of respiration occurs in both smaller and larger organisms while the process of fermentation occurs in smaller organisms.
  4. The example of beings that have respiration is human beings and animals while the example of beings which have fermentation is bacteria and yeast.
  5. Respiration generates more ATP as compared to fermentation which has very low rates.
  6. Respiration is both aerobic and anaerobic while fermentation is only anaerobic.
  7. Respiration makes use of mitochondria while fermentation does not utilize mitochondria for the process.

Comparison Video

YouTube video

Conclusion

This article gives an idea to people about respiration and fermentation, the two main kinds of activities in organisms, which are very common in animal and plants. Hopefully, people will be able to understand what the main definition of the term is, how they are different from each other and what is the main thing which describes them.

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss

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