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Gas That Has a Profound Effect on Respiration

by Contributing Writer
  • Overview

    Plants need carbon dioxide to breathe and store energy.
    Whether it is cellular respiration (the manner in which cells use energy) or the physiological process of breathing, carbon dioxide is the one gas that has the greatest impact on both processes. Without it, neither important process would be able to be completed.
  • Breathing

    Getting oxygen to every part of the human body is accomplished by the simple act of breathing. The most important task of breathing is to acquire oxygen and get rid of the carbon dioxide produced by cells. This exchange occurs in the lungs: oxygen is transferred to the blood and carbon dioxide to the alveoli (tiny air sacs within the lungs).
  • Role of Carbon Dioxide

    Chemical receptors located in the aorta and carotid arteries are stimulated more by higher concentrations of carbon dioxide than they are by higher oxygen levels. The body reacts to the presence of too much carbon dioxide by breathing.
  • Cellular Respiration

    Cellular respiration is the process by which sugars, as a source of energy, are broken down by cells and used. By combining oxygen and glucose, the cell attains energy to function and releases carbon dioxide and water as a result.
  • Photosynthesis

    The equation for photosynthesis is exactly the opposite of cellular respiration. Carbon dioxide is combined with energy from the sun and water to produce glucose and to give off oxygen as a byproduct.
  • Carbon Dioxide in Cellular Respiration

    According to an article in the February 10, 2009 "Science Daily," rising levels of carbon dioxide stimulate photosynthesis and could lead to increased crop yields.

    References & Resources