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Aerobic respiration is a process of cellular respiration that uses oxygen in order to break down molecules,

which then release electrons and creating energy. In the process, aerobic respiration creates a substance
known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This is responsible for storing and carrying most of the energy to
other body cells, thus making life as we know it possible. The other type of cellular respiration is known as
anaerobic respiration.

When an animal eats food or when a plant makes its own energy through photosynthesis, that food is
broken down into its most basic form of sugars. Those sugars are useless to the body in that form, however.
Therefore, a process of releasing the sugars contained in the food is needed in order to be used as energy by
a cell. While oxygen may not be needed at the beginning of this process, in aerobic respiration it will be
needed so that the process can be completed.

There are two main byproducts of aerobic respiration. Because cellular structures are being
changed with the transfer of electrons, there are chemical changes that go along with
cellular respiration. The two main products coming from suchrespiration are water
and carbon dioxide.

Aerobic respiration is often described as being broken down into three main stages, though
depending on how detailed one wants to get, there could be many more. The first major stage is
called glycolysis. It is at this point ATP is created, as are carbon molecules,
called pyruvate or pyruvic acid, and some molecules known as NADH.

The second stage is known as Kreb's cycle. This takes some of the carbon not used in the first
stage and puts them through another series of complex chemical reactions, creating more NADH
and molecules known as FADH2. The third step is a process known as electron transport
phosphorylation. This creates even more ATP for use by converting those other molecules for
that purpose. Along the way, as NADH is produced, carbon dioxide is created as a waste product.

Oxygen is used as a receptor for electrons in aerobic respiration, as it makes a good receptor for
electrons. Once the oxygen receives the electrons, it then converts them into water. This is done
so that electrons do not build up in the ATP, which could cause problems. For cells that use
anaerobic respiration instead of aerobic respiration, lactic acid is produced in the place of water.

It should be noted that both aerobic and anaerobic respiration are capable of producing energy.
Cells that even normally useaerobic respiration may be able to use the other form not requiring
oxygen if needed. This can usually be done only for a short period of time, however.