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Aerobic Respiration

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Aerobic Respiration is the metabolic process of cellular respiration that takes place when oxygen is present. Aerobic Respiration is one type of respiration. The conversion of glucose or other organic molecules into energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) in the cells of living organisms is known as aerobic respiration. This process occurs in the presence of oxygen and takes place in the mitochondria of eukaryotic cells, or the cytoplasm of prokaryotic cells.

Aerobic Respiration Definition:

The process by which cellular energy is produced in the presence of glucose, this process is known as Aerobic Respiration.

What is Aerobic Respiration?

Aerobic respiration is an essential process that occurs in the cells of living organisms, including humans and other animals, plants, and microorganisms. Aerobic Respiration converts glucose or other organic molecules into energy in the form of ATP, which is essential for various cellular functions such as muscle contractions, cell division, and maintaining body temperature.

The overall chemical equation for aerobic respiration equation is:

C6H12O6 + 6O2 → 6CO2 + 6H2O + energy (ATP)

The above chemical reaction shows that the glucose is broken into the chemical energy in the presence of oxygen, which is used by the cell for various cell functions. The end products of the aerobic respiration equation are Carbon dioxide, Water, and ATP. Around 2900kJ of energy is released during aerobic respiration.

During respiration in plants, oxygen comes inside the cell with the help of stomata. Plants do photosynthesis to generate food which further breaks to produce energy i.e., ATP.

Also Read: Respiration

Aerobic Respiration Diagram

In aerobic respiration different metabolic processes are involved like glycolysis, TCA cycle, and Electron Transport Chain. Below is the diagrammatic representation of aerobic respiration, showing all the processes include in it.

Aerobic Respiration


 Steps of Aerobic Respiration

Aerobic Respiration is a multistep enzymatic reaction process that is broken down into four stages:

  • Glycolysis
  • Oxidation of Pyruvic Acid
  • Krebs cycle
  • Oxidative Phosphorylation


The name “glycolysis” originates from the Greek words “glycose,” which means “sugar,” and “lysis,” which means “dissolution.” The glycolysis process is the first phase in the aerobic respiration process that takes place in the cytosol. Glycolysis is the metabolic pathway that converts glucose into pyruvate and produces ATP and NADH. Both end products are further used in different aerobic respiration steps.

Also Read: Difference between Cytosol and Cytoplasm

Formation of Acetyl coenzyme-A

It is the 2nd step of aerobic respiration. In this Pyruvate is changed into acetyl-coenzyme A, which is a prerequisite for entering the Krebs cycle, during the second phase of the process. After glycolysis, the pyruvate is oxidized and produced 2-carbon acetyl in mitochondria. Which later on binds with the coenzyme-A and produces acetyl coenzyme-A which is used in the Krebs cycle.

Krebs Cycle

Krebs cycle is also known as the Citric Acid cycle or the Tricarboxylic Cycle (TCA). It is the third stage of aerobic respiration. Citric acid is produced when the OAA is combined with the acetyl co-enzyme-A. Further citric acid cycle undergoes a chain of reactions. The end products of the Citric Acid cycle are 2CO2 + 1ATP + NADH and FADH. The end products are further used in the last step of aerobic respiration.

Phosphorylation via Oxidative Reduction

The electron transport chain is the fourth and last step of aerobic respiration. In this phase, the end products of the citric acid cycle are used and generate cellular energy. Electron transfer to the different complexes of the ETC chain from NADH and FADH and generate ATP from that. A single glucose generates 34 ATP.

Important Points on Aerobic Respiration

  • Aerobic Respiration is a metabolic process in which glucose, amino acids, and fats are broken down to generate ATP a form of cellular energy.
  • In the mitochondrial matrix after glycolysis pyruvate is converted into acetyl CoA
  • 2 pyruvate molecules generate from one glucose. 2 Acetyl CoA undergoes into Krebs cycle
  • After the Krebs cycle, NADH and FADH generate used in ETC.
  • In ETC ATP Synthase help to generate ATP

FAQs on Aerobic Respiration

Q1: Aerobic respiration takes place in?


Within the mitochondria of animal cells, three out of the four phases of the aerobic respiration process are carried out. 

Q2: What are the different steps of Aerobic Respiration?


  • Glycolysis
  • Formation of Acetyl CoA 
  • Kreb’s cycle 
  • ETC (Electrons Transport Chain)

Q3: What are Aerobic and Anaerobic Respiration?


Respiration is divided into two types based on oxygen. Respiration is of two types:

  • Aerobic Respiration: Respiration takes place in the presence of oxygen.
  • Anaerobic Respiration: No oxygen is present in anaerobic respiration

Q4: How much ATP is produced in aerobic Respiration?


A total of 32 ATP is produced when a molecule of glucose is breakdown via different steps of aerobic respiration.

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Last Updated : 30 Mar, 2023
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