Difference Between Breathing and Respiration

Breathing and cellular respiration are defining characteristics of living organisms. However, these terms are not synonymous and there are significant differences between the two. Also,  please note that cellular respiration and physiologic respiration are two separate processes. We shall be discussing the difference between cellular respiration and breathing in this article.

Cellular Respiration is the biochemical process of releasing energy, which can be utilized by our body cells to perform various daily activities like walking, sitting, running and many other life processes. Moreover, cellular respiration is an essential and vital process for maintaining the proper functioning of the organ system. Breathing is the biological process by which oxygen gas is inhaled, and carbon dioxide is exhaled out from the lungs to improve gaseous exchange within the living cells, tissues and other organs of the human body.

Difference Between Breathing and Cellular Respiration

  • As stated above, breathing is the biological process of inhaling and exhaling gases between the cells and the environment. The mechanism of breathing involves various respiratory structures such as the windpipe, lungs and nose.
  • Respiration, on the other hand, is a chemical process that takes place in the cell. The air that we inhale brings oxygen to the lungs and is carried by the blood to the cells, where it helps in the breakdown of glucose which results in the generation of energy. This energy is used by the cells to carry out their respective functions.

Let us look at more differences between breathing and respiration.

Breathing Cellular Respiration
Breathing involves the process of inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide Cellular respiration is the process of breaking down glucose to produce energy, which is then used by cells to carry out the cellular function.
Process Occurrence
Breathing takes place in the lungs. Also involves the nose, mouth and pharynx Respiration takes place in cells
Type of Process
Breathing is voluntary as well as an involuntary physical process. (For example, breathing during sleep is involuntary. Voluntary breathing is observed when we sing, speak, swim or for relaxation techniques) Respiration is an involuntary chemical process.
Production of Energy
There is no production of energy in this process. Energy is produced and released in the form of ATP.
Cellular Activity
As it occurs outside cells, it is called the extracellular process. (Occurs between the organism and the external environment) As it occurs inside cells, it is called the intracellular process.
Enzyme used
No enzymes are used during the process. A large number of enzymes are used during the process.
Associated Organs
Breathing occurs through respiratory organs, including the nose, lungs, etc. Respiration takes place in cells and cell organelles, including mitochondria, etc.

From the differences given, we can conclude that breathing and cellular respiration are two different processes and cannot be used interchangeably.

Main Article: Respiration

Also Read:

Learn more about respiration, its process, types or concepts related to breathing only at BYJU’S Biology

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