Q:

What is plant respiration?

A:

Plant respiration is a chemical reaction by which plant cells stay alive. The process can be represented by the following formula: glucose + oxygen → carbon dioxide + water (+ energy). Through respiration, plants use oxygen and produce carbon dioxide. The result is the release of stored energy for use.

Plant respiration occurs in the mitochondria of each plant cell. First, glucose is oxidized. The chemical potential energy of its bond turns into the chemical potential bonds of an ATP molecule. The ATP molecule is then transported throughout the cell. The molecule's stored energy is utilized to complete tasks within the cell.

Respiration and photosynthesis, the process by which plants make their own food, are chemically linked. Through photosynthesis, plants use carbon dioxide and create oxygen. This means that respiration can be thought of as photosynthesis in reverse.

One major difference between the two is that plants respire constantly, but only photosynthesize when they are in the light. In dark conditions, a plant would respire, but not photosynthesize. The result would be that only oxygen would be taken in and carbon dioxide given out. All living cells, including animal cells, respire. However, plant respiration should not be confused with breathing.

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