Respiration is the process that releases energy by the breakdown of food. Cell machinery is required for this breakdown of food. Steps in the process of respiration are oxygen intake (which is used to catabolize the food and proper functioning of vital organs), transport of oxygen, removal of waste products- carbon dioxide and water from the body. Respiration in animals is significant in life as it provides the energy required to facilitate the better survival of organisms. Respiration involves various metabolic reactions occurring simultaneously that is why it is also called to be a complex process. The process of Breathing is considered a physical process whereas the process of respiration is a biochemical process. Different organisms have developed specialized respiratory organs that are adapted to different habitats. Respiration is an important event for an organism to live. Some anaerobic organisms are also present like- some bacterias and some lower taxonomic organisms.
A brief outline of the topic:
Breathing and the oxidation of food in the cells of the organism to produce energy are both parts of the respiration in animals. Respiration is a biochemical process of food oxidation, whereas breathing is a physical activity. As a result, organisms have evolved particular respiratory organs that are required for the oxidation of food and the release of energy. The respiratory system is all about exchanging gas with the environment. The respiratory system is the system in living organisms that takes in oxygen and releases carbon dioxide to meet energy demands.
Respiratory structures are designed to meet the demand for oxygen. Protozoans, for example, exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide across their entire surface. In multicellular organisms, where diffusion distances are longer, other strategies are usually used. To refresh the external medium at their surfaces, aquatic worms, for example, lengthen and flatten their bodies. Sessile sponges rely on the ebb and flow of the surrounding water. In contrast, the jellyfish, which can grow to be quite large, has a low oxygen requirement because its organic matter content is less than 1% and its metabolizing cells are located just beneath the surface, resulting in short diffusing distances.
A brief note:
Exchange of gas:
Respiratory organs like lungs or gills are responsible for the actual exchange of gas. This exchange is based upon the principle of Diffusion. Diffusion of gas means the gas moves from a region of higher concentration to a region of lower concentration.
The process of diffusion is explained with the help of an example below:
Respiratory organs in insects:
In insects, the respiratory organs consist of a network of tubes known as tracheae that directly ventilate the tissues. Ventilation is the process of actively transporting air to the site of gas exchange. Similar to how arteries branch out into tiny capillaries in a closed circulatory system, the tubes divide and branch out into smaller and smaller tubes extending into all areas of the insect. Spiracles are tiny apertures found all over an insect’s body. The tracheae have apertures called spiracles. Diffusion is the only mode of gas exchange in tiny insects. Larger insects will aggressively breathe in order to fill the tubes with air. When aquatic insects are submerged, they must close their spiracles to prevent their tubes from flooding. Surprisingly, certain aquatic insects have specialized spiracles that may penetrate submerged plants and gain access to the oxygen storage areas of those plants.
Respiratory organs in mammals:
The lungs are the most important organ in mammalian respiration. A suction-pump mechanism of inhalation and exhalation actively ventilate the lungs. The rib muscles and the diaphragm, a structure structured like a dome-shaped floor directly beneath the lungs, are responsible for breathing.
The rib cage opens up and the diaphragm flattens and slides lower during inhalation. The air pressure inside the lungs decreases as the lungs expand into greater space. The outside air rushes in due to the drop in air pressure inside the lung.
Exhalation is the polar opposite of inhalation. The lungs contract while the diaphragm and rib muscles relax to their neutral state. Squeezing the lungs increases their air pressure, causing the air to escape.
The majority of mammals breathe through their noses. The air is warmed and moistened by inhaling via the nose. Cilia and mucus membranes filter the air, trapping dust and germs. The epiglottis, a little leaf-shaped flap at the rear of the throat, allows air to pass through.
The epiglottis controls airflow into the windpipe and closes when food is swallowed to prevent food inhalation. It acts as a barrier between the lungs and the rest of the body.
Because gas exchange occurs in the capillaries, the alveoli and the capillary network have a strong working relationship. This gets the waste materials carried by the blood close enough to the fresh air for diffusion to occur. The waste is evacuated, and the blood absorbs the oxygen.
The hemoglobin in the blood binds oxygen molecules together, similar to how a bus carries people. At any given time, each hemoglobin protein may transport four oxygen-carrying passengers. Carbon dioxide is eliminated as oxygen is given to the cells. Expelled water vapor and carbon dioxide are exhaled, and inhalation begins again.
The respiratory organs in marine mammals are like their terrestrial counterparts, breathe oxygen through their lungs, but there are a few peculiarities. They have evolved muscles or cartilaginous flaps to close their tracheas when submerged to prevent water from seeping into their airways. We wish our cartilaginous flaps could do that, but we’re out of luck because our forefathers missed out on a couple of million years of pruning up in the water.
In addition, marine mammals may exchange up to 90% of their gas in a single breath, allowing them to take in as much oxygen as possible while expelling as much waste as possible.
Also read: Nutritional and Digestive Disorders
Frequently Asked Question FAQs:
Question: What is the process of respiration?
Answer: Respiration is the process that releases energy by the breakdown of food. Steps in the process of respiration are oxygen intake, transport of oxygen, removal of waste products- carbon dioxide and water from the body.
Question: What are the main organs responsible for respiration?
Answer: Respiratory organs like lungs or gills are responsible for the actual exchange of gas.
Question: What do you understand by Diffusion?
Answer: Diffusion of gas means the gas moves from a region of higher concentration to a region of lower concentration.
Question: What are the respiratory organs in marine mammals?
Answer: The respiratory organs in marine mammals have evolved muscles or cartilaginous flaps to close their tracheas when submerged to prevent water from seeping into their airways.