Types of Breathing

What are the types of respiration?

The breath is the process of gas exchange between living things and the environment. In the case of humans and animals, respiration involves the replacement of carbon dioxide in the lungs with oxygen from the air.

Broadly speaking, there are two types of respiration: cellular respiration and external respiration.

cellular respiration

Also known as internal respiration, it is the process of transforming chemical energy into forms of energy usable by the cell.

This process is carried out through oxidation, degrading organic compounds to convert them into inorganic compounds. Cellular respiration, in turn, is classified into two types: anaerobic respiration and aerobic respiration.

In cellular respiration, glucose is broken down in a two-stage process: glycolysis and respiration. Glycolysis occurs in the cytoplasm of cells and does not require oxygen; It consists of the degradation of glucose (6 carbons) by a series of biochemical reactions until reaching two molecules of pyruvate (3 carbons).

Respiration occurs in the mitochondria and comprises two stages: the Krebs cycle and the electron transport chain.

It is in this last stage, the electron transport chain, where oxygen (in aerobic respiration) captures electrons and water is formed. If another compound such as sulfates or nitrates capture the electrons, we speak of anaerobic respiration.

aerobic respiration

It is an energy metabolization process characterized by the oxidation of organic molecules by the action of oxygen, which is taken from the air. The end result is water and carbon dioxide.

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anaerobic respiration

It is a type of respiration in which oxygen is dispensed with, and instead, sulfate or nitrate is used, which are the ones that act as final acceptors of the electron transport chain responsible for the synthesis of ATP (adenosine triphosphate, a nucleotide essential for obtaining cellular energy).

The end result of the process is carbon dioxide and ethanol.

See also:

  • Krebs cycle
  • cellular respiration

external respiration

It is the process of exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide with the environment. It is classified into pulmonary, branchial, tracheal and cutaneous respiration.

lung breathing

Types of respiration, pulmonary respiration

It is the predominant type of respiration in terrestrial vertebrates, including humans. In this case, oxygen is taken from the air through the nose and mouth, and will reach the trachea through the throat, through inhalation and exhalation movements.

The trachea branches into two tubes called bronchi that enter the lungs, which in turn branch into bronchioles. These end in sac-like structures called alveoli, which is where the exchange of oxygen for carbon dioxide takes place.

Once the carbon dioxide is obtained, it is sent back to the lungs through the blood system, to be expelled into the environment.

tracheal breathing

Tracheal breathing, as its name indicates, occurs in the trachea, which is a structure made up of ducts or channels through which air passes. All insects have windpipes that run the length of their body and have contact with the outside through openings called spiracles.

In tracheal respiration, the spiracles open to take in oxygen from the air, and when insects are in a resting state, cellular osmotic pressure allows oxygen to dissolve with the tracheal fluid and carbon dioxide to be released to the outside. .

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Once the insect comes out of its resting state, the tracheal fluid is absorbed by the tissues, the respiration process is complete, and the spiracles open to begin the cycle.

gill respiration

It is a type of respiration typical of most aquatic animals and is carried out in the gills, structures in the form of sheets that contain blood vessels.

In this case, gas exchange occurs in the water, from which the animals take oxygen.

Once the water has passed through the gills, it goes directly into the bloodstream or hemolymph, a nutrient-filled fluid that is produced by invertebrate animals. Oxygen is transported to the mitochondria, where the aerobic respiration process occurs, culminating in the expulsion of carbon dioxide that has been generated as a result of gas exchange.

Cutaneous respiration

In this case, the breathing process is carried out through the epidermis. For this to happen efficiently, the skin must be kept moist, which is why many animals have developed characteristics such as soft skin, with multiple folds or mucous glands to maintain moisture.

Annelids (marine worms), echinoderms, and amphibians have this type of respiration. The latter (in some cases), combine cutaneous and pulmonary respiration, such as, for example, toads. However, it is through the skin that most of the process takes place.

The skin of cutaneously respiring animals is highly vascularized, which optimally allows oxygen to enter the blood vessels and carbon dioxide to be removed from the blood vessels to the skin.

respiration in plants

Although plant respiration is often confused with photosynthesis, they are complementary processes: in respiration, plants take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. While in photosynthesis, the plant takes in carbon dioxide from the environment and releases oxygen.

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In plants, external respiration is carried out through structures called stomata, which are found in the roots, and in lenticels, which are located in the bark of stems and roots.

For its part, the cellular respiration of plants is aerobic, hence it is carried out according to the processes described above.

See also

  • Photosynthesis
  • Breathing