Origin: a Latin derivative
meaning "Gift of the Earth."
Once the plant has produced the molecules of sugar it needs for food, it must have a mechanism to use those sugars for energy. This process is called respiration and works by breaking down sugar molecules to harvest the energy needed to power plant processes. The respiration process can be summarized by the equation:
C6H12O6 (glucose) + O2 à CO2 + H2O
This equation shows that together with oxygen, glucose is broken down to produce both carbon dioxide and water. The energy released in this reaction is collected into ATP molecules.
Like photosynthesis, the summary of respiration seems simple, but it actually involves five separate and complex reactions.
Though a plant uses carbon dioxide and produces oxygen during photosynthesis then later uses oxygen and produces carbon dioxide again during respiration, overall a plant produces more oxygen and uses more carbon dioxide. This makes it possible for animals and humans to only use oxygen and produce carbon dioxide.