What is aerobic respiration?

  • Living things need energy to perform different tasks in order to survive.

  • Aerobic respiration is a chemical reaction that transfers energy to cells.

  • The waste products of aerobic respiration are carbon dioxide and water.

A case study video on how an athlete uses aerobic respiration during exercise.

Living things need energy for everything they do, including growing and reproducing. This energy comes from glucose. All animals and humans get glucose through eating it, but plants need to make their own glucose during photosynthesis.

Plants and animals transport glucose and oxygen to tiny structures in their cells, called mitochondria. Here, the glucose and oxygen take part in a chemical reaction. The reaction is called aerobic respiration, and it produces energy which transfers to the cells.

Aerobic respiration makes two waste products:carbon dioxide and water. Animals remove carbon dioxide from their bodies when they breathe out. In daytime, plants use some of this carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. At night, they release the carbon dioxide to their surroundings.

A model of glucose and oxygen reacting.

Respiration and gas exchange, there's more to learn...