How Is Photosynthesis Related To Cellular Respiration?

We’ve all heard about and learned something about photosynthesis in school. The same likely goes for cellular respiration.

How Is Photosynthesis Related To Cellular Respiration?

These two processes happen everywhere around us in our daily lives. However, despite sounding so different and occurring in vastly different organisms, there are many similarities between the two.

Knowing how photosynthesis is related to cellular respiration will help you understand why these two biochemical reactions are important for survival of life on the Earth.

Continue reading for more information on photosynthesis and cellular respiration, with special emphasis on the relationship between the two. You might be surprised by what we have to teach you!

Understanding Photosynthesis And Cellular Respiration

Both plants and animals can respire. However, only green plants and a very limited few organisms can photosynthesize.

That isn’t to say that photosynthesis isn’t extremely useful for other organisms as well as plants, or that they don’t benefit from it.

The process of both respiration and photosynthesis is imperative to the existence of life on this planet, whether that is direct or indirect. 

These processes are related to one another, but before we can understand how, we need to have a basic knowledge of them each.

We will take a look at each of these important processes below, then explore the relationship between them.  

Photosynthesis – What You Need To Know

In photosynthesis, glucose is synthesized using sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide.

This is a chemical process that plants, some bacteria, and algae use to produce food for themselves using the three basic ingredients.

Without carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight (or a sunlight alternative), photosynthesis would not be able to occur. 

Photosynthesis looks like this when it’s put into chemical equations: 6CO2 + 6H2O + Light energy → C6H12O6 + 6O2; where carbon dioxide (CO2), water (H2O) and sunlight are reactants and glucose (C6H12O6) and oxygen (O2) are the products of photosynthesis.

Cellular Respiration – What You Need To Know

The energy from nutrients are converted into adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in cellular respiration. This is important for organisms in order to facilitate a variety of functions throughout life.

Cellular respiration can be described as a metabolic process where glucose chemical bonds organisms get from food is then converted into energy.

This energy is then used by a number of organisms in the world, including us humans and mammals.

For cellular respiration, on the other hand, we’re looking at this chemical equation: C6H12O6 + 6O2 → 6CO2 + 6H2O + Energy released (2830 kJ mol-1); where glucose (C6H12O6) and oxygen (O2) are reactants, while carbon dioxide (CO2), water (H2O) and energy are products. 

How Is Photosynthesis Related To Cellular Respiration?

Exploring How Photosynthesis And Cellular Respiration Are Related To One Another

Taking a moment to look at the processes of both photosynthesis and cellular respiration, you may notice something about the information given.

In order for photosynthesis to occur, there needs to be water, light, and carbon dioxide.

On the other hand, for cellular respiration to occur, there needs to be oxygen and glucose. 

The products of photosynthesis are oxygen and glucose, and the products of cellular respiration are carbon dioxide and water.

As such, each process provides the “ingredients” needed for the other! Both processes create bi-products that are necessary in the facilitation of the other process, tying them together. 

The fact that one process could not exist without the other is the basis of their relationship.

Anything that uses the process of photosynthesis is both directly and indirectly reliant on the organisms that use cellular respiration.

Without cellular respiration occurring in living organisms and the oxygen being taken in, they would not be able to release carbon dioxide and water.

Not only that, but all of these organisms are also dependent on the glucose that comes from plants for their energy requirement.

Both also use the “electron transport chain” in terms of the movement of electrons. This is typically seen as one of the most prominent similarities between cellular respiration and photosynthesis.

The relationship between these two processes is probably the most important relationship on the planet. It is necessary for life to continue, and for any life to exist at all. 

A summary of the relationship between photosynthesis and cellular respiration would be as follows: the (radiant) energy that comes from the sun gets used to produce glucose during the process of photosynthesis.

This glucose is ultimately used to create the usable energy that is used in the process of cellular respiration.

As such, one could not exist without the other, and this relationship is the most important known to man. Without one, the other would fail, and the world would cease to be as we know it.   

A Summary

To recap, the chemical equation for photosynthesis is as follows: 6CO2 + 6H2O + Light energy → C6H12O6 + 6O2; where carbon dioxide (CO2), water (H2O) and sunlight are reactants and glucose (C6H12O6) and oxygen (O2) are the products of photosynthesis.

On the other hand, this is the equation for respiration: C6H12O6 + 6O2 → 6CO2 + 6H2O + Energy released (2830 kJ mol-1); wherein glucose (C6H12O6) and oxygen (O2) are reactants, whereas carbon dioxide (CO2), water (H2O) and energy are products.

Just looking at those equations, you can see that the products required and produced by each process cycles and feeds the other.

In order for cellular respiration to happen, oxygen and glucose must be available.

This process results in carbon dioxide and water, which is then what is needed for photosynthesis to occur, plus light from the sun or another source. 

As such, each process needs the other in order to continue. Without one or the other, these processes could not continue, and the world would be a very different place.

Energy from the sun or another source is needed to produce glucose during the process of photosynthesis.

That glucose is eventually needed for cellular respiration to produce energy, which is then used. 

The relationship between photosynthesis and cellular respiration is very close-knit, despite occurring on opposite ends of the spectrum.

However, in many ways, they are more similar than you realize, and are dependent on one another. 

Jennifer Dawkins

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.