What Are the Two Types of Respiration?

The two types of respiration are aerobic and anaerobic, as stated by the State University of New York, or SUNY. In biology, cellular respiration is defined as the process by which cells produce energy, or the way they convert food into energy.

The deciding factor as to whether a cell uses aerobic or anaerobic respiration is the amount of oxygen that is available in the cell. When there is little to no oxygen, a cell will produce energy using anaerobic respiration. When oxygen is abundant, aerobic respiration is used.

According to the Royal Society of Chemistry, the four stages of aerobic respiration are glycolysis, the link reaction, the Krebs cycle and oxidative phosphorylation. Oxygen reacts with glucose to create water, carbon dioxide and energy, also known as adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. The body easily disposes of carbon dioxide and water, leaving only energy. During aerobic respiration, 38 molecules of ATP are created, much more than in anaerobic respiration. When a person does any type of cardiovascular activity, his or her body uses aerobic respiration for energy.

In anaerobic respiration, since there is no oxygen to react with the glucose, there is no release of water or carbon dioxide. Instead, the by-products are lactic acid and ATP, or energy. The body has a much more difficult time in releasing lactic acid than carbon dioxide and water. Accumulation of too much lactic acid may result in muscle cramps. There is also fewer molecules of ATP created during anaerobic respiration, two molecules compared to the 38 with aerobic respiration.