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Photosynthesis and respiration of plants are two processes that complement each other. Although they sometimes confuse them, we are talking about two different reactions. One provides oxygen and is fed through a series of transformations. Respiration, as in the rest of living beings, is necessary, although in plants, the way to obtain oxygen may seem somewhat complex. However, it is much simpler than we think.

Each of these processes is vital to compensate for the other, without the one the second would not exist. Therefore, both are necessary for the life of a plant and that of the planet. In Green Ecologist we are going to explain in a simple way the difference between photosynthesis and respiration of plants, as well as what they are for in each case.

What is photosynthesis - summary

The plants feed through a process called photoautotroph, of which water plants are also part, such as algae, for example. Vegetables require ultraviolet rays that come from the sun, with this reaction transform carbon dioxide that they generate, in organic components and in oxygen.

Without the existence of solar rays, this process would be impossible, so there would be no vegetation. The ultraviolet rays stimulate the electrons when they come into contact with the chlorophyll of the plant and, with this, the oxygen molecules present in the CO2 are released.

This process generates carbohydrates that end up being stored inside the cells of the vegetables, transforming them into energy and food. We can summarize this four-part procedure Which are the following:

  1. Absorption: In this phase, the root of the vegetable is directed and develops towards the water. This provides hydration and minerals from the earth.
  2. The circulation: everything absorbed by the roots flows through the stem until it reaches the leaves.
  3. Photosynthesis: this is carried out from the leaves, where chlorophyll absorbs sunlight. Light, together with CO2, modify the raw sap into processed sap, which feeds the plant.
  4. Cellular respiration: a brief summary of what we will explain next, plants take in oxygen and expel CO2 just like animals, although in a different way. This process is established mainly on the leaves and stems. Respiration is continuous, both during the day and at night, although in the second case, in the absence of light, the plants only carry out the process of respiration.

Cellular respiration in plants

Plants breathe through their leaves and, in addition, to do the breathing the process is the opposite of photosynthesis. In this case, oxygen and glucose are transformed into CO2 and water. Subsequently, the retained energy from carbohydrates is gradually released.

For the cellular respiration in plants sunlight is not needed constantly. This is a continuous and exothermic process (release of energy), whereas in photosynthesis it occurs during sunlight and is endothermic (requires energy).

Cells located in the trunk and roots do not have photosynthetic pigments to absorb light. With which, the vegetables must obtain energy through other mechanisms, such as the cells of the leaves that do have chlorophyll. When there is no solar presence, the energy that the plant cells need is obtained through energy reserves, which are made up mostly of starch.

To take advantage of its energy, it must be divided into molecules made up of glucose. These, in turn, are transferred to the interior of the cells where they are transformed into organic molecules. The molecules end up penetrating the mitochondria, which is where cellular respiration takes place.

Another difference between these two processes is that, for plants to breathe, catalysts are not required as can occur in photosynthesis, whose reaction is generated thanks to chlorophyll. Cellular respiration originates from the mitochondria and the cytoplasm of your cells.

Differences between photosynthesis and cellular respiration

In summary, these are the main differences between photosynthesis and cellular respiration of plants:

  • Respiration, as a general term, is necessary both in plants, which is called cellular respiration in plants, and in animals, which we commonly know as animal respiration. Instead, photosynthesis is a process that exists only in plants.
  • During the process of cellular respiration of plants, glucose is transformed into energy, energy is produced, in photosynthesis elements with energy are manufactured, that is, energy is used.
  • In respiration, CO2 and water are released, while in photosynthesis these two elements, in addition to light, are necessary to be able to synthesize glucose.
  • To carry out cellular respiration in plants, CO2 is necessary and oxygen is released, and photosynthesis collaborates in its release.
  • In respiration, energy is released, while in photosynthesis it accumulates.

Thanks to photosynthesis and the presence of plants, we can obtain oxygen, the element of which is vital for life on the planet.

If you want to read more articles similar to Difference between photosynthesis and respiration of plantsWe recommend that you enter our Nature Curiosities category.

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