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Science

Aerobic and anaerobic respiration

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Respiration releases energy for cells from glucose. This can be aerobic respiration, which needs oxygen, or anaerobic respiration, which does not. During exercise, the breathing rate and heart rate increase. During hard exercise an oxygen debt may build up.

What is aerobic respiration?

Respiration is a series of reactions in which energy is released from glucoseglucose: A simple sugar made by the body from food, which is used by cells to make energy in respiration. Aerobic respiration is the form of respiration which uses oxygen. It can be summarised by this equation:

glucose + oxygen carbon dioxide + water (+ energy)

Energy is shown in brackets because it is not a substance. Notice that:

  • Glucose and oxygen are used up
  • Carbon dioxide and water are produced as waste products

Aerobic respiration happens all the time in the cells of animals and plants. Most of the reactions involved happen inside mitochondria, tiny objects inside the cytoplasm of the cell. The reactions are controlled by enzymes [enzyme: A protein which speeds up chemical reactions. ].

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