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Photosynthesis vs Respiration

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Details: Cellular Respiration and Photosynthesis co-exist as paired metabolic processes.

Photosynthesis uses light energy to convert carbon dioxide into glucose, a simple sugar, in two steps, the light dependent and light independent reactions. Oxygen is produced as a by product during photosynthesis. This reaction stores energy in the chemical bonds of glucose.

Sugar and other carbohydrates are used as fuel sources by cells. During the process of Aerobic Cellular Respiration, glucose is broken down using oxygen. This reaction releases energy which is used to create ATP molecules, the energy carrier molecule of cells. The process also releases Carbon Dioxide as a byproduct.

Part 1: Fill out the following table to compare and contrast Photosynthesis and Aerobic Cellular Respiration.

Photosynthesis Aerobic Cellular Respiration

Full balanced equation



Is this reaction endergonic or exergonic? State which one it is.

Energy source used

Cell organelles involved in the reaction

Role of ATP in the reaction

Part 2: After completing the table you will have a basic understanding of these two complementary metabolic processes. Using what you have learned, and additional reference information, answer the following questions.

What types of organisms can use Photosynthesis to produce glucose? Provide examples.
What types of organisms can use Aerobic Cellular Respiration to break down glucose to produce ATP? Provide examples.
If oxygen is lacking, how might cells meet their energy needs through fermentation? Explain and give some examples of cells that can do this.
Both reactions are examples of complex metabolic pathways, consisting of many linked reactions. Briefly, explain the role of enzymes in chemical reactions and metabolic pathways.

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Solution Summary

All autotrophs uses photosynthesis for the production of glucose. Examples of autotrophs are algae, bryophytes, pteridophytes, angiosperms etc. All living organisms require energy. In order to get energy the stored food in the form of glucose is broken down to ATP by respiration. The process occurs in mitochondria. All animals and plants depend on this mode for their energy requirements.