Difference Between Respiration and Combustion

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

Difference Between Combustion and Respiration

Respiration Combustion
Respiration is a biochemical process that takes place in living cells to release energy. Combustion is a chemical process that occurs outside living cells or living systems.
Respiration is a controlled biological process. Combustion is an uncontrolled process.
Energy is released in a stepwise manner with different biochemical reactions. Energy is released in a single step.
Less than half of the energy is liberated as heat. Energy is released in the form of heat. Explosive Combustion can also produce Heat, Light and Sound.
Temperature is not allowed to rise beyond control as it can cause damage to the cell. The temperatures can go very high during a combustion process.
Energy is stored in the form of Adenosine triphosphate (ATP). On breakage of the molecular bonds within ATP, energy is released for physiological processes. Adenosine triphosphate is not formed.
Oxidation occurs at the end of the reaction between oxygen and reduced coenzymes in the electron transport chain. 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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