Difference Between Photosynthesis and Photorespiration


When it comes to photosynthesis or photorespiration we think it might have the same meaning or these 2 words mean the same but it's not as easy as it seems. Photosynthesis and photorespiration are two different words. Just because it has the common word "photo" doesn't make it have the same meaning. Today, in this post, I'm going to tell you 8 difference between photosynthesis and photorespiration.

Difference between photosynthesis and photorespiration:

Here is a table which tells the difference between photosynthesis and photorespiration:

Photosynthesis Photorespiration
1. When there is direct energy coming from the sunlight, the plant or maybe some bacteria also, make glucose with the help of carbon dioxide and water in the presence of sunlight is called photosynthesis Photorespiration means the process of respiration which takes place where carbon dioxide is given out which is the opposite process of photosynthesis
2. Photosynthesis takes place in the prescence of carbon dioxide Photorespiration takes place in the prescence of oxygen
3. Photosynthesis plays a role in the C4 plants Photorespiration plays a role in the C3 plants
4. In photosynthesis RuBisCo produces 3-PGA from RuBP In photorespiration RuBisCO produces 3-PGA as well as phosphoglycolate from RuBP
5. Photosynthesis is the main process for carbon fixation Photorespiration wastes the fixed carbon
6. Photosynthesis is a source of energy fixation in plants Photorespiration wastes the energy which is produced by the cell
7. Photosynthesis is an efficient process of producing glucose Photorespiration is not an efficient process of producing glucose
8. Photosynthesis occurs in the chloroplast Photorespiration occurs in the chloroplast, peroxisomes and mitochondria


What is photosynthesis ? 

When there is direct energy coming from the sunlight, the plant or maybe some bacteria also, make glucose with the help of carbon dioxide and water in the presence of sunlight is called photosynthesis. There are two types of photosynthesis

  1. Oxygenic photosynthesis - You know the simple process of photosynthesis. In the same way oxygenic photosynthesis takes place. Light energy is used to transfer electron from water to carbon dioxide to produce carbohydrates. This occurs in plants, algae and cyanobacteria. Carbon dioxide is reduced and water is oxidised. 
  2. Anoxygenic photosynthesis - Light energy is trapped and then converted to ATP. Here oxygen is not produced. This occurs in purple bacteria and green sulfur bacteria which are found in aquatic habitat. Though this depends upon electron donors, water is not the one which donates electrons. 
 Formula of photosynthesis
Formula of photosynthesis

What is photorespiration ?

Photorespiration means the process of respiration which takes place where carbon dioxide is given out which is the opposite process of photosynthesis. The enzyme RuBisCo oxygenates RuBP wasting the energy which was produced by photosynthesis. It obstructs the process of photosynthesis.

If you want to know the dual nature of the enzyme RuBisCo click here.

 Process of photorespiration
Process of photorespiration

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