Where Does Respiration Take Place?

Respiration is a process that takes place within cells that turns energy from nutrients found in food into molecules that are usable by cells. Oxygen may or may not be necessary for respiration to take place, but respiration in the presence of oxygen is more efficient in producing energy.

  1. Significance

    • Respiration is a critical physiological process that occurs in all living animals. Without respiration, cells begin to be deprived of vital nutrients and death can result.


    • The function of respiration is to transform the energy from the nutrients taken in during a meal to a form of energy that is usable by the cells of the body. This energy is known as adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, and is the primary goal of respiration.


    • Respiration occurs within the cells of the body. Aerobic respiration occurs within the mitochondria, and anaerobic respiration occurs within the cytoplasm of the cell, outside of the mitochondria.


    • Aerobic respiration is respiration that occurs in the presence of oxygen. The byproducts of aerobic respiration are carbon dioxide, energy, and water. Carbon dioxide is breathed out, and metabolic water is used by the body and eliminated as waste. The energy produced in the form of ATP is used to perform cellular functions.

      Anaerobic respiration is respiration that occurs in the absence of oxygen. In animal cells, the waste product of this anaerobic respiration is lactic acid, while the energy production is minimal. In yeast cells, the waste products of anaerobic respiration are carbon dioxide and alcohol, which are beneficial to humans. There is less energy produced per molecule of nutrients in anaerobic respiration.


    • Respiration and breathing are two separate processes. Technically, breathing is the act of taking air in and out of the body and should not be confused with respiration. Respiration is the process of gas exchange that occurs on the cellular level, although the word respiration is often used to encompass both processes

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