Difference Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Respiration

What is Aerobic Respiration?

Aerobic respiration is the process by which glucose is broken down using chemical reactions to produce ATP and water in the presence of oxygen. ATP stands for Adenosine triphosphate, which is energy that is used by body cells. Aerobic respiration is a term used in the study of biology.

This kind of respiration requires oxygen and produces carbon dioxide. Aerobic respiration is the most efficient way of producing ATP, as it combines the breakdown of glucose with oxygen to produce molecules of ATP. During aerobic respiration, glucose and oxygen are combined to produce 36 molecules of ATP.

Aerobic respiration requires oxygen to break down glucose. , extract energy from it, and release carbon dioxide. It occurs in the mitochondria, which are found in the cytoplasm of cells.

Respiration, in general, is a process that takes place in all living things. This includes people, animals, and plants.

Some examples of aerobic respiration are:

  1. Human beings’ cells get energy from glucose with the help of oxygen and release carbon dioxide in the process.
  2. In plants, respiration happens in the mitochondria as well. Plants take in oxygen and give out carbon dioxide through stomata as they respire during the day.

What is Anaerobic Respiration?

Anaerobic respiration is the process by which glucose is broken down without the presence of oxygen. This respiration occurs in some cells and organs, such as the liver and brain, because they can’t get enough oxygen. It also occurs in certain muscles, such as those used for sprinting or weightlifting, because they don’t need much oxygen to do their jobs.

It is a less efficient process than aerobic respiration, as it converts pyruvate into lactate without using oxygen and produces only two molecules of ATP per glucose molecule.

Anaerobic respiration also occurs in some organs and cells when they need energy but don’t have enough oxygen to break down glucose. This type of respiration is also called glycolysis.

Some animal species cannot live in oxygen environments, including Clostridium tetani. For them, anaerobic respiration becomes a necessity. Others may be in an oxygen-rich habitat but do not use it for survival, and depend on aerobic respiration as well.

Streptococcus, a bacterium that causes an illness known as strep throat, is one example of an organism that does not require oxygen even if it is present in its surroundings.

Difference Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Respiration

Aerobic respiration is a process that occurs in the mitochondria of a cell. It utilizes oxygen to break down glucose and produce ATP. Aerobic respiration gives more energy than anaerobic respiration and produces more ATP.

Anaerobic respiration, on the other hand, does not require oxygen to break down glucose. The process can occur in any cell of the body, and it produces energy but not as much as aerobic respiration. It takes place in situations where the body does not have access to enough oxygen, such as during exercise.

Comparison Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Respiration

Parameter of ComparisonAerobic RespirationAnaerobic Respiration
OxygenUses oxygenDoes not need oxygen.
Bi ProductsThe final products of the process are carbon dioxide, water, and energyThe final products are alcohol, lactic acid, and energy
OccurrenceIt occurs in the mitochondria and cytoplasm.It only occurs in the cytoplasm.
OrganismIt is the big animals that perform this kind of respirationIt is microorganisms such as bacteria that undergo this process.
Number of molecules per glucose molecule36 to 38 molecules of ATP2 molecules of ATP


  1. https://journals.asm.org/doi/abs/10.1128/jb.178.5.1374-1385.1996
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1128/9781555818005.ch10