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Difference Between Cellular Respiration and Photosynthesis

Cellular Respiration vs Photosynthesis

All living things require a constant supply of energy in order to survive. One method of how animals derive this energy is through the process of cellular respiration. Cellular respiration is the process in which energy from different food sources are broken down in order to provide just the right amount of energy for the organism to be able to perform a particular set of activities. During cellular respiration, organic compounds, such as glucose, which are derived from the organism’s food source, are converted into Adenosine Tri-Phosphate (ATP) molecules. These molecules serve as energy packets that are stored within the cells of the organism to be used when the need arise.

Cellular respiration may either be aerobic or anaerobic. The difference between the two is that aerobic cellular respiration utilizes oxygen to convert organic compounds into energy while anaerobic cellular respiration converts the organic compounds into energy without the use of oxygen during the process.

Plants derive their supply of energy through a process called photosynthesis. Unlike cellular respiration whereby the process only entails the harvesting of energy from different foods consumed by the organisms, photosynthesis involves the conversion of one type of energy into another form of energy which could then be used by the plant organism. Photosynthesis is a cellular process where light energy coming from the sun is converted into chemical energy with the help of chlorophyll pigments found on the plant’s leaves. This chemical energy is then stored in the plant cells through the form of sugar bonds, hence the name of the chemical process. It is these sugar bonds that animal organisms convert into usable energy through the process of cellular respiration.

As with cellular respiration, photosynthesis occurs in two stages. The difference between the two cellular processes is that cellular respiration processes are divided into processes that require oxygen and those that do not require oxygen. In the case of photosynthesis, the processes are divided into those that require light energy and those that do not require light energy. During the light dependent process, the process that requires light energy, ultraviolet light strikes the chlorophyll pigments, exciting the electrons within the pigment resulting in the separation of carbon and oxygen molecules from the carbon dioxide molecules derived from the atmosphere. The second stage of the process called the light independent process occurs without the need of sunlight. The carbon molecules that have been separated from oxygen molecules during the light dependent process are then converted into carbohydrates which are then stored into the plant cells to serve as its source of food and energy.

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