A polar bear is just one example of an organism that uses respiration to gain biochemical energy. Respiration occurs in all other animals too.
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Respiration is the name of the general process by which living organisms
convert sugars and oxygen into biochemical energy. The process occurs
in all organisms
, including animals, plants, fungi, and bacteria (though
in some cases other electron acceptors, like nitrate, are substituted
for the oxygen). During respiration, carbohydrates are broken down, and
the energy stored in the carbohydrates' bonds is used to produce ATP and
other high-energy compounds that can be used throughout the cell to fuel
the different processes necessary to support life.
In addition to producing useful energy, respiration produces carbon
dioxide and water as waste products. The overall equation for the
process is given below:
The reverse of this process, used by
(self-feeders), is known
as photosynthesis. During photosynthesis
, energy from the Sun's rays is
used by cells to produce carbohydrates, with oxygen made as a byproduct.
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