Relation of Combustion, Respiration and Photosynthesis

by • 26/07/2011 • Old Pattern Biology NotesComments (0)964


A chemical reaction in which a substance combines with oxygen and produce heat, light and flame is called Combustion.


A process that liberates chemical energy from organic molecules when oxidized is called Respiration. It occurs in all living cells. In fact respiration is a series of complex oxidation and reduction reactions in which energy is released bit by bit.


The process in green plants by which green plants manufacture their own food by using carbon dioxide and water with the help of energy absorbed by chlorophyll from sunlight is called photosynthesis.

Relation of Combustion, Respiration and Photosynthesis

Combustion is the process of burning in which wood, coal, methane, gas etc are burnt in the presence of oxygen, producing carbon dioxide and water accompanied with the release of energy. It is an exothermic chemical reaction.

Cellular respiration can be compared to burning of fuel in which organic food (carbohydrates, fats and proteins) rich in carbon burn in the presence of oxygen producing carbon dioxide, water and energy.

Respiration like combustion is a catabolic exothermic chemical process. However, the difference between the combustion and respiration is that the combustion takes place in one go, releasing the entire energy as the heat, which may be utilized or is lost into the environment. the respiration completes in several small steps. Each step is under the control of a specific enzyme, releasing energy in small amounts which can be stored in the form of ATPs. Photosynthesis, another metabolic process, is just opposite to combustion. Combustion is a catabolic process; the photosynthesis is an anabolic process. In photosynthesis organic substance is synthesized from carbon dioxide and water in the presence of sunlight energy and chlorophyll. The molecular oxygen is evolved as the by-product combustion is exothermic and releases energy, photosynthesis is endothermic and absorbed energy.

Photosynthesis and respiration are the two metabolic reactions opposite to each other. Photosynthesis takes place only in the gree parts of the plant body having chlorophyll, whereas respiration takes place in all the living cells of plants and animals. Mitochondria are the cellular organelles where respiration takes place while the organelles for photosynthesis re chloroplasts. Photosynthesis takes place during the day time only, whereas respiration takes place day and night. In photosynthesis body weight is increased but in respiration weight is decreased. Respiration is an oxidation reaction whereas photosynthesis is a reduction reaction and can be well understood by comparing their chemical reactions.


Chemical Equation in Respiration:

Glucose + Oxygen ——-> Carbon dioxide + Water + Energy (In presence of mitochondria and enzymes)

Chemical Equation In Photosynthesis:

Carbon dioxide + Water ——–> Glucose + Oxygen (In presence of chloroplast and solar energy)

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