Difference Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Respiration (With Table)

Cellular respiration is the mechanism through which energy is released within cells owing to the breakdown of glucose molecules. Based on how much oxygen is used, the process may be split into two categories: aerobic and anaerobic respiration. Many plants and animals use aerobic respiration. Human muscle cells and other organisms all use anaerobic respiration.

Aerobic vs Anaerobic Respiration

The main difference between aerobic and anaerobic respiration is that Aerobic respiration is a set metabolic reaction in which chemical energy is converted into ATPs in the presence of oxygen in a cell, on the contrary, Anaerobic respiration is the energy-generating foundering of glucose in the lack of oxygen.

Aerobic vs Anaerobic Respiration

Aerobic respiration is a kind of cellular respiration in which oxygen is used to generate energy from food. The word “aerobic” comes from the word “oxygen.” Carbon dioxide and ATP are by-products of aerobic cellular respiration. The energy of the double bond in oxygen is greater than that of other bonds, allowing for the production of more ATPs.

Anaerobic Respiration is a kind of cellular respiration that produces energy from food without the need for oxygen. The term anaerobic comes from the word “anaerobic,” which means “without oxygen.” Lactic acid and ATP are by-products of anaerobic cellular respiration so take into consideration that ATP is the universal energy currency.

Comparison Table Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Respiration

Parameters of ComparisonAerobic RespirationAnaerobic Respiration
DefinitionIt is the process of breaking down glucose in the presence of oxygen in order to create additional energy.Anaerobic respiration is the process of generating energy without the need of oxygen by breaking down glucose.
OccurrenceFollowing glycolysis, eukaryotes’ mitochondria and prokaryotes’ cytoplasm engage in aerobic respiration.Anaerobic respiration takes place solely in a cell’s cytoplasm.
Time consumptionThis process consumes a long time.Faster and speedy process  
Requiresoxygen and glucose is required for the process to take placeThe procedure can only take place if there is just oxygen present.
EquationO2+ glucose= CO2+ H2O + energy.Glucose= C2H5OH (alcohol)+ CO2+ energy.
ExamplesBirds, animals, and all living organisms.Alcohol fermentation

What is Aerobic Respiration?

The process through which organisms use oxygen to convert fuels like fats and carbohydrates into chemical energy is known as aerobic respiration. It is substantially more effective than anaerobic respiration, and it produces ATP much faster. This is due to the fact that oxygen is a good electron acceptor for the chemical events that produce ATP.

Carbon dioxide, water, and a lot of energy are by-products of these chemical processes. This mechanism releases around 2900 kJ/mol of glucose as energy. It’s important to note that respiration is not the same as breathing (ventilation). The majority of aerobic respiration events take place inside mitochondria in cells.

Animals and plants both use this type of chemical respiration. Our breathing pattern shows that we inhale oxygen and exhale a lot of carbon dioxide. When oxygen enters cells in the body that already have glucose, the glucose is broken down, releasing carbon dioxide and water. Our bodies use this, and carbon dioxide is subsequently released into the atmosphere.

What is Anaerobic Respiration?

The term “anaerobic” refers to a situation in which there is no oxygen present. Anaerobic respiration is when a person breathes without using oxygen to create the energy they need. Anaerobes are microorganisms that are able to breathe in the absence of oxygen. Aerobes are microorganisms that can breathe without oxygen.  

Lower plants and microbes are more likely to engage in anaerobic respiration. The glucose derived from meals is broken down into CO2 and alcohol in the absence of oxygen, resulting in the creation of energy. Our bodies require a lot of energy during hard or intense exercise like jogging, sprinting, cycling, or weight lifting. Because oxygen is scarce, our body’s muscle cells turn to anaerobic respiration to meet their energy requirements.

When muscle cells breathe anaerobically, cramps occur. Lactic acid is produced when glucose is partially broken down owing to a lack of oxygen, and the build-up of lactic acid causes muscular cramps. Its equation is: GLUCOSE= LACTIC ACID+ ENERGY

As a result, due to the absence of oxygen in the process, anaerobic respiration produces a smaller quantity of energy than aerobic respiration.

Main Differences Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Respiration

  1. Anaerobic respiration takes place solely in the cytoplasm, on the other hand, anaerobic respiration takes place in both the cytoplasm and mitochondria.
  2. Aerobic respiration results in proper combustion, on the contrary, Anaerobic respiration results in incomplete combustion.
  3. In aerobic respiration, oxygen is used to break down glucose, whereas, in anaerobic respiration, oxygen is not used to break down glucose and create energy.
  4. As compared to aerobic respiration, anaerobic chemical respiration produces significantly less energy in the form of ATPs.
  5. Most higher creatures, such as plants and animals, use aerobic respiration, whereas, anaerobic respiration occurs in muscle cells during high-intensity movements.


since the respiration process is essential for life on Earth, both types of respiration, aerobic and anaerobic, are necessary for all living things to live. These two Chemical Respiration mechanisms provide the energy requirements of diverse living creatures. Aerobic respiration, on the other hand, entails the utilization of oxygen to break down glucose and generate energy. Anaerobic respiration, on the other hand, uses the lack of oxygen to break down glucose and create energy.

Anaerobic respiration also produces less energy since there isn’t enough oxygen to completely break down glucose. However, in situations where oxygen is scarce, this can be extremely important. Overall, both aerobic and anaerobic respiration are excellent ways for people and other living organisms to thrive, as chemical respiration is essential for survival.


  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/23692843
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1128/9781555818005.ch10