The key difference between breathing and respiration is that the breathing is a physiological process that takes air in and out from the respiratory system while the respiration is a biochemical process that utilizes oxygen and produces energy (ATP) through the breakdown of glucose.
More often people misunderstand breathing and respiration as the same process. However, they are two different, but interrelated physiological processes. Breathing occurs first, and respiration takes place after that. The places at which these two processes take place are also different from the pathways of breathing and respiration are distinctive. Most importantly, breathing provides oxygen that is necessary to break down glucose to produce energy by respiration. Moreover, breathing is a physical process that is vital. Therefore, it is very important to discuss the differences in detail about respiration and breathing in animals.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Breathing
3. What is Respiration
4. Similarities Between Breathing and Respiration
5. Side by Side Comparison – Breathing vs Respiration in Tabular Form
What is Breathing?
Breathing is the process of taking oxygen into and expelling carbon dioxide from the body. Breathing is essential for life as it supplies oxygen to release energy from food via respiration. Additionally, it removes carbon dioxide, which is a waste product of respiration. Also, breathing removes excess water from the body through exhalation. Breathing is a physical process consisting of inhalation, exhalation, and relaxation. Inhalation is an active process while exhalation is passive.
Breathing involves two stages known as ventilation and gas exchange. Ventilation is the movement of the air in and out of the lungs. Gas exchange takes place in the alveoli of the lungs. Two things happen during the gas exchange; oxygen goes into blood and carbon dioxide diffuses out into the lungs. Breathing is a voluntary action, which the animal can control. However, animals do not always voluntarily breathe, but the involuntary process is ever happening as the centres in the brainstem automatically regulate the breathing.
What is Respiration?
Respiration, also called cellular respiration, is the process of breaking down glucose in the cellular level to produce energy. It is an active process that consists of three main stages namely glycolysis, Krebs cycle and electron transport chain. Respiration uses oxygen to produce energy and produces carbon dioxide and water as waste products. It is a metabolic process, which is taking place in the cells, where glucose from food reacts with oxygen from breathing, to produce biochemical energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). And, this energy is extremely useful to perform all the biological processes.
Furthermore, in addition to glucose, amino acids and fatty acids also serve as nutrients for respiration with cellular oxygen. Water, ammonia, and carbon dioxide are waste products of respiration. Mostly, water and carbon dioxide move out of the body via breathing, while ammonia excretes with urine.
Moreover, respiration is an involuntary process, which the animal cannot control. However, respiration could be either aerobic or anaerobic respiration. Aerobic respiration occurs when the oxygen is available while the anaerobic respiration occurs in the absence of oxygen. Among the aerobic and anaerobic respiration, aerobic respiration produces a total of 38 ATP molecules from one glucose molecule while the anaerobic respiration produces only two molecules of ATP.
What are the Similarities Between Breathing and Respiration?
- Breathing and respiration involve the same components; they are the oxygen and carbon dioxide.
- Both processes are extremely important for survival.
- Also, breathing brings raw materials for respiration and removes the waste of respiration. Hence, they are interconnected processes.
- Both processes utilize energy.
- These processes are related to the respiratory system.
- Furthermore, they are dependent on each other.
What is the Difference Between Breathing and Respiration?
Breathing refers to the process of inhaling and exhaling. On the other hand, cellular respiration is the process of oxidation of glucose in order to produce energy; ATP. Therefore, this is the key difference between breathing and respiration. Breathing is a physiological process while the respiration is a biochemical process. Thus, it is another difference between breathing and respiration. Furthermore, breathing does not produce energy while respiration produces energy.
Apart from those differences, there are some other differences as well. Breathing involves only gas exchange. But, respiration involves gas exchange and oxidation of compounds. Hence, it is another difference between breathing and respiration. Moreover, though both processes are related to the respiratory system, breathing is an extracellular process while respiration is an intracellular process. Another difference between breathing and respiration is that breathing does not use enzymes while respiration needs enzymes to carry out reactions.
The below infographic presents more information on the difference between breathing and respiration.
Summary – Breathing vs Respiration
Breathing and respiration are two interrelated processes but are different. In summarizing the difference between breathing and respiration; breathing refers to a physiological process that occurs in the lungs. But, respiration is a chemical process that occurs in the cells associating the cellular organelle mitochondria. During breathing, air moves in and out of the lungs. But, during the respiration, glucose molecules break down into ATP molecules when the oxygen is available. Breathing provides oxygen to respiration and removes carbon dioxide from the body. On the other hand, respiration produces the energy needed for all the bodily activities. Inhalation and exhalation are the two stages of breathing while glycolysis, Krebs cycle and electron transport chain are the three stages of respiration.