Photosynthesis vs. Cellular Respiration

The main difference between photosynthesis and cellular respiration is that during the process of photosynthesis energy is stored while energy released in cellular respiration.

Comparison Chart

Basis of Distinction Photosynthesis Cellular Respiration
Definition A scientific process that explains the conversion of light energy into chemical energy by plants to produce food A scientific process that describes the conversion of glucose and oxygen into water and carbon dioxide by the living organisms.
Function Stores Energy Energy Release
Reactants Water and Carbon Dioxide Oxygen and Glucose
Location Chloroplast Mitochondria
Products Oxygen and Glucose Water and Carbon Dioxide
Energy Sources Light Chemical Bonds
Carbohydrate Molecules Building Up Break Down
Chemical Equation 6CO2 + 12H2O + light –> C6H12O6 + 6O2 + 6H20 6O2 + C6H12O6 –> 6CO2 +6H2O + ATP
Occurs in which organisms? Occurs in algae, plants and some bacteria Occurs in all living organisms either plants or animals

What is Photosynthesis?

A scientific process that explains how the plants and other organisms convert light or sun energy into chemical energy that is later on used by these organisms to fuel their activities. The chemical energy formed during photosynthesis process is then stored in carbohydrate molecules that is then synthesized from water and carbon dioxide. Oxygen is the water product or output that is released in most of the photosynthesis processes. Photosynthesis process generally occurs in algae, plants and some bacteria. These organisms are also called as photoautotrophs. According to biologists, photosynthesis is responsible for generating and sustaining oxygen content of the Earth’s atmosphere. Moreover, photosynthesis is also responsible for supplying most of the energy and organic compounds necessary for life on Earth. Different species perform the photosynthesis process in a variety of ways. However, the process of photosynthesis always starts with the absorption of energy by proteins consisting of chlorophyll pigments. The common example of photosynthesis are leaves that transform water, carbon dioxide, and other minerals into glucose and oxygen. It takes place in the chloroplasts of cells. This entire process gives energy to all kind of living organism, and without it, there will be no concept of life on earth.

What is Cellular Respiration?

Cellular respiration is a chemical process in which the adenosine triphosphate and nutrients are converted into the biochemical energy. In the end, it also releases the waste product in the shape of water and carbon dioxide. The catabolic reaction is the primary reaction involved in the cellular respiration process that actually breaks down the larger one molecules into the small molecules by releasing energy in the process as the stronger bonds replace high energy bonds. It is said to be the main process in which a cell of living organisms emits chemical energy to fuel cellular activity. Cellular respiration is not an easy process that happens in few simple steps. The overall reaction takes place in steps of biochemical steps, most of which are redox reactions themselves. Cellular respiration is different from the photosynthesis on many grounds in which the major difference is that it don’t require the need of sunlight at all and is always occurring in all living organisms either animals or plants. The overall process of cellular respiration takes occurs in the mitochondria of cells. Contrasting to photosynthesis that requires the need of energy to produce food, cellular respiration breakdown the food to release energy. Plants are capable of performing both photosynthesis and cellular respiration while animals are capable of performing cellular respiration only.

Key Differences

  1. In photosynthesis, energy is provided by photons while in cellular respiration, energy in provided by the catabolic processes.
  2. Photosynthesis used two electron transport chains while cellular respiration uses one electron transport chain.
  3. Photosynthesis involves the production of NADPH while cellular respiration involves the production of both FADH and NADH.
  4. Photosynthesis occurs in the presence of light while cellular respiration is a continuous activity that likes to happen all the time.
  5. The inputs in the photosynthesis are water and carbon dioxide while inputs in the case of cellular respiration are oxygen and glucose.
  6. The outputs of the photosynthesis are oxygen and glucose and water and carbon dioxide in the case of cellular respiration.
  7. In photosynthesis, the source of energy while in cellular respiration, chemical bonds are the source of energy.
  8. Photosynthesis is an anabolic process that ends in the production of carbohydrate molecules. Cellular respiration, on the other hand, is a catabolic process that ends in the breakdown of carbohydrate
  9. Photosynthesis happens only in those cells containing chlorophyll while cellular respiration happens in all cells and it is independent of chlorophyll.
  10. Photosynthesis results in the gain of dry mass while cellular respiration results in loss of dry mass.
  11. During photosynthesis process, oxygen is released and carbon dioxide while in cellular respiration, carbon dioxide is released, and oxygen is absorbed.
  12. In photosynthesis, the reaction only takes place in the presence of chlorophyll while cellular respiration is independent of the catalyst for respiration reaction.
  13. Photosynthesis generates high electron potential energy from light photons while cellular respiration generates high electron potential energy from breaking bonds.
  14. Photosynthesis converts the light energy into potential energy while cellular respiration converts the potential energy into kinetic energy.
  15. During photosynthesis process, energy is stored in the form of chemical energy or glucose while in cellular respiration; energy is released in the form of ATP.

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