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burning is also wrong as per the last person, marks can be awarded if you say oxidation.

Burning is referenced to combustion which is similar in some ways to the process of respiration but it is not respiration and you would get 0 for saying burning

Just to be clear, I hate the fact so many people have referenced breathing YOU ARE ALL WRONG!!! Please do not listen to anyone who says RESPIRATION is the same as BREATHING. IT IS NOT and you would get 0 marks at any level. 

It may be taught at basic level (early primary) respiration and breathing are the same but scientifically this is not the same.

Breathing is the basic term given for the scientific process known as ventilation which involves the process of inhalation and exhalation. 

I wish these comments are vetted / moderated by academics. 

Mr previous post is the correct definition for any exam paper for the generic definition of respiration. 

As an examiner I am shocked so many people are wrong and allowed to post wrong information or not fully elaborated answers.


Respiration is the action of breathing of something that lives.

I accordance with Cambridge CIE international examinations respiration is defined as a "chemical reaction" which involves the breakdown of "glucose" to "release energy" which occurs in "living cells". 

This is 4 marking points for the definition of Respiration. This answer would achieve full marks at IGCSE level for the definition.

If it asked for the equation, or named different types of respiration, and products etc, then the answer I presented above would not be valid, nor would the answers to these secondary questions give any marks for definition of respiration.


Respiration is the process by which glucose from food and oxygen from air are chemically combined to form water and carbon dioxide, with the release of energy.

It depends on what level you're asking at:

Key Stage 2 = Breathing

Key Stage 3 = Getting energy from food

Key Stage 4 = Producing energy from the glucose absorbed by the body after digestion. It requires oxygen, and produces water and carbon dioxide:

glucose + oxygen ---> water + carbon dioxide (+ energy)

Key Stage 5 = a multi-stage chemical reaction where the energy molecule "ATP" is produced through the metabolism of glucose (from digestion) in the mitochrondria of cells.

Respiration can be aerobic (with oxygen) which is a lot more efficient and produces a lot more ATP per molecule of glucose; it can also be anaerobic when oxygen is lacking, but this is not as efficient at producing ATP.

Could you please let me know at what key stage or for what exam (GCSE or A-level, or Btec, or what) this question is aimed at so that either I, or another tutor, can elucidate more. It's difficult to answer without knowing how in-depth you need the information (:

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