Photosynthesis and respiration of plants are two processes that complement each other. Although sometimes confused, we are talking about two different reactions. One provides oxygen and is fed through a series of transformations. Breathing, as in the rest of living beings, is necessary, although in plants, the way to obtain oxygen may seem somewhat complex. However, it is much simpler than we think.
Each of these processes is vital to compensate the other, without the one there would be no second. Therefore, both are necessary for the life of a vegetable and that of the planet. In lorecentral.org we will explain in a simple way the difference between photosynthesis and the respiration of plants , as well as what they are used for in each case.
What is photosynthesis – summary
Plants are fed through a process called photoautotrophic , which also includes water plants, such as algae, for example. Plants need ultraviolet rays that come from the sun, with this reaction they transform the carbon dioxide they generate into organic compounds and oxygen.
Without the existence of solar rays, this process would be impossible, so there would be no vegetation. The ultraviolet rays stimulate the electrons when they contact the chlorophyll of the plant and, in this way, the oxygen molecules present in the CO2 are released.
This process generates carbohydrates that end up being stored inside the cells of the vegetables transforming them into energy and food. We can summarize this procedure in four parts that are the following:
- The absorption: in this phase, the root of the vegetable is directed and develops towards the water. This provides hydration and minerals from the earth.
- Circulation: everything absorbed by the roots flows through the stem to reach the leaves.
- Photosynthesis: this is carried out from the leaves, where chlorophyll absorbs sunlight. The light, together with the CO2, modify the crude sap in elaborated sap, which feeds the plant.
- The cellular respiration: a brief summary of what we will explain next, the plants take oxygen and expel CO2 like the animals, although in a different way. This process is established mainly in the leaves and stems. The breathing is continuous, both during the day and at night, although in the second case, in the absence of light, the plants only perform the process of breathing.
Cell respiration in plants
The plants breathe through their leaves and, in addition, to make the breathing the process is the opposite of that of photosynthesis . In this case, oxygen and glucose are transformed into CO2 and water. Subsequently, the retained energy from the carbohydrates is gradually released.
For cell respiration in plants , sunlight is not needed constantly. This is a continuous and exothermic process (release of energy), while in photosynthesis it occurs during sunlight and is endothermic (requires energy).
The cells located in the trunk and in the root do not have photosynthetic pigments to be able to absorb the light. With which, vegetables must obtain energy through other mechanisms, such as the cells of the leaves that do have chlorophyll. When there is no solar presence, the energy needed by the cells of the plant is obtained through the energy reserves, which are composed mostly of starch.
To take advantage of its energy, it must be divided into molecules composed of glucose. These, in turn, are transferred to the interior of cells where they are transformed into organic molecules. The molecules end up penetrating the mitochondria, which is where cellular respiration develops.
Another difference between these two processes is that, for plants to breathe, no catalysts are needed, as can occur in photosynthesis, whose reaction is generated by chlorophyll. The cellular respiration has its origin in the mitochondria and in the cytoplasm of its cells.
Differences between photosynthesis and cellular respiration
By way of summary, these are the main differences between photosynthesis and cellular respiration of plants :
- Breathing, as a general term, is necessary both in plants, what is called cellular respiration in plants, and in animals, which we commonly know as animal respiration. In contrast, photosynthesis is a process that exists only in plants.
- During the process of cellular respiration of plants, glucose is transformed into energy, energy is produced, photosynthesis produces elements with energy, that is, energy is used.
- In the respiraion CO2 and water are released, while in photosynthesis these two elements, in addition to light, are necessary to be able to synthesize glucose.
- To carry out cellular respiration in vegetables, CO2 is necessary and oxygen is released, and photosynthesis helps in its release.
- In the breath the energy is released, while in photosynthesis it accumulates.
Thanks to photosynthesis and the presence of plants, we can obtain oxygen, whose element is vital for life on the planet.