Plants and oxygen--help!

Ross Koning koning at ECSUC.CTSTATEU.EDU
Wed Feb 25 08:28:12 EST 1998

At 5:29 PM -0500 2/24/98, Kirk Newman wrote:
>I always thought plants used carbondioxide
>and released oxygen. Recently, I was told
>they also use oxygen.  If the statement is true,
>what do they use oxygen for?


A common misconception is that plants do ONLY
photosynthesis.  Plant cells also contain
mitochondria and carry out cellular respiration
just as animals do.  If you think about it,
roots are generally NOT in light and the inner
tissues of a tree (under the bark) or a fruit
(under an opaque skin) must use respiration
rather than photosynthesis to survive.  Also
plants need energy at night too...respiration
does this.

In energy production terms, plants are MORE complex
than animals.

Plants also carry out photorespiration (a process
using oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide, but
not generating energy).  C-3 plants do more of
this than C-4 or CAM plants.  So there is another
use for oxygen.


Ross Koning                 | koning at
Biology Department          |
Eastern CT State University | phone: 860-465-5327
Willimantic, CT 06226 USA   | fax: 860-465-4479

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