Difference Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Respiration (With Table)

Difference Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Respiration (With Table)

Cellular respiration is the mechanism through which energy is released within cells owing to the breakdown of glucose molecules. Based on how much oxygen is used, the process may be split into two categories: aerobic and anaerobic respiration. Many plants and animals use aerobic respiration. Human muscle cells and other organisms all use anaerobic respiration.

Aerobic vs Anaerobic Respiration

The main difference between aerobic and anaerobic respiration is that Aerobic respiration is a set metabolic reaction in which chemical energy is converted into ATPs in the presence of oxygen in a cell, on the contrary, Anaerobic respiration is the energy-generating foundering of glucose in the lack of oxygen.

Aerobic vs Anaerobic Respiration

Aerobic respiration is a kind of cellular respiration in which oxygen is used to generate energy from food. The word “aerobic” comes from the word “oxygen.” Carbon dioxide and ATP are by-products of aerobic cellular respiration. The energy of the double bond in oxygen is greater than that of other bonds, allowing for the production of more ATPs.

Anaerobic Respiration is a cellular respiration that produces energy from food without needing oxygen. The term anaerobic comes from the word “anaerobic,” which means “without oxygen.” Lactic acid and ATP are by-products of anaerobic cellular respiration, so consider ATP the universal energy currency.

Comparison Table Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Respiration

Parameters of ComparisonAerobic RespirationAnaerobic Respiration
DefinitionAnaerobic respiration is the process of generating energy without the need for oxygen by breaking down glucose.Anaerobic respiration is the process of generating energy without the need of oxygen by breaking down glucose.
OccurrenceFollowing glycolysis, eukaryotes’ mitochondria and prokaryotes’ cytoplasm engage in aerobic respiration.Anaerobic respiration takes place solely in a cell’s cytoplasm.
Time consumptionThis process consumes a long time.Faster and speedy process  
Requiresoxygen and glucose is required for the process to take placeThe procedure can only take place if there is just oxygen present.
EquationO2+ glucose= CO2+ H2O + energy.Glucose= C2H5OH (alcohol)+ CO2+ energy.
ExamplesBirds, animals, and all living organisms.Alcohol fermentation

What is Aerobic Respiration?

The process through which organisms use oxygen to convert fuels like fats and carbohydrates into chemical energy is known as aerobic respiration. It is substantially more effective than anaerobic respiration and produces ATP much faster. This is because oxygen is a good electron acceptor for the chemical events that produce ATP.

Carbon dioxide, water, and much energy are by-products of these chemical processes. This mechanism releases around 2900 kJ/mol of glucose as energy. It’s important to note that respiration differs from breathing (ventilation). The majority of aerobic respiration events take place inside mitochondria in cells.

Animals and plants both use this type of chemical respiration. Our breathing pattern shows that we inhale oxygen and exhale much carbon dioxide. When oxygen enters cells in the body that already have glucose, the glucose is broken down, releasing carbon dioxide and water. Our bodies use this, and carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere.

What is Anaerobic Respiration?

The term “anaerobic” refers to a situation where no oxygen is present. Anaerobic respiration is when people breathe without using oxygen to create the energy they need. Anaerobes are microorganisms that can breathe in the absence of oxygen. Aerobes are microorganisms that can breathe without oxygen.  

Lower plants and microbes are more likely to engage in anaerobic respiration. The glucose derived from meals is broken down into CO2 and alcohol in the absence of oxygen, creating energy. Our bodies require a lot of energy during hard or intense exercise like jogging, sprinting, cycling, or weight lifting. Because oxygen is scarce, our body’s muscle cells use anaerobic respiration to meet their energy requirements.

When muscle cells breathe anaerobically, cramps occur. Lactic acid is produced when glucose is partially broken down due to a lack of oxygen, and lactic acid build-up causes muscular cramps. Its equation is: GLUCOSE= LACTIC ACID+ ENERGY

As a result, due to the absence of oxygen in the process, anaerobic respiration produces less energy than aerobic respiration.

Main Differences Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Respiration

  1. Anaerobic respiration occurs solely in the cytoplasm, on the other hand, anaerobic respiration takes place in both the cytoplasm and mitochondria.
  2. Aerobic respiration results in proper combustion, on the contrary, Anaerobic respiration results in incomplete combustion.
  3. Aerobic respiration uses oxygen to break down glucose, whereas in anaerobic respiration, oxygen is not used to break down glucose and create energy.
  4. Compared to aerobic respiration, anaerobic chemical respiration produces less energy in ATPs.
  5. Most higher creatures, such as plants and animals, use aerobic respiration, whereas anaerobic respiration occurs in muscle cells during high-intensity movements.


since respiration is essential for life on Earth, both types of respiration, aerobic and anaerobic, are necessary for all living things to live. These two Chemical Respiration mechanisms provide the energy requirements of diverse living creatures. Aerobic respiration, on the other hand, entails the utilization of oxygen to break down glucose and generate energy. On the other hand, Anaerobic respiration uses the lack of oxygen to break down glucose and create energy.

Anaerobic respiration also produces less energy since there isn’t enough oxygen to break down glucose completely. However, this can be extremely important in situations where oxygen is scarce. Aerobic and anaerobic respiration are excellent ways for people and other living organisms to thrive, as chemical respiration is essential for survival.


  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/23692843
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1128/9781555818005.ch10
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