Difference Between Respiration and Combustion

The difference between respiration and combustion is quite apparent when you realize that “chemically,” it is the same thing. However, certain processes and enzymes in our body that regulate this process of releasing energy. This is why our food does not spontaneously combust like fuel in rockets or automobiles. Read on to explore more:

Difference Between Combustion and Respiration



Respiration is a cellular process, which means it occurs inside living cells

Combustion is a non-cellular process

Respiration is a process under biological control

Combustion is an uncontrolled process

Energy is released in steps

Energy is released in a single step

Less than 50% of energy is liberated as heat

Energy is released as heat. It can get hot enough to produce incandescent light.

Temperature is not allowed to rise. If it does, it can result in damage to the cell

The temperature during combustion is very high. It is usually higher than respiration

Adenosine triphosphate is formed during this process. On breakage of the molecular bond, energy is released for physiological processes.

Adenosine triphosphate is not formed.

Oxidation occurs at the end of the reaction between oxygen and reduced coenzymes

Substrates are directly oxidised in the combustion process

Enzymes are required for the process of respiration

Enzymes are not required for combustion as it is a non-cellular process

Example: Aerobic respiration

Example: Combustion of oxygen and hydrogen into water vapour

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