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Question Video: Recalling the Waste Product Produced from Anaerobic Respiration in Humans Biology

What waste product is formed during anaerobic respiration in humans?

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Video Transcript

What waste product is formed during anaerobic respiration in humans?

This question is asking us about a process called anaerobic respiration, which can occur in human cells. You might recall that the prefix an- means without, while the word part “aer” is the Greek word that means air. This is because anaerobic respiration is the process by which energy can be released in cells without oxygen. You might be more familiar with aerobic respiration, which is the process by which energy is released in cells in the presence of oxygen. Let’s take a look at the word equations for both of these reactions to compare them and work out the correct answer.

Aerobic respiration reacts glucose with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and water, which releases a large amount of energy that is stored in the form of a molecule called ATP. As anaerobic respiration occurs in the absence of oxygen, it produces a different product from aerobic respiration. In animal cells, this product is called lactic acid, which is otherwise known as lactate. Anaerobic respiration also releases energy. However, this is less energy than is released through aerobic respiration. Excessive anaerobic respiration is associated with muscle cramp or muscle fatigue. It is usually carried out by our cells when they are not supplied with enough oxygen for aerobic respiration, such as when we’re sprinting in a race. The lactic acid that is produced as a waste product of anaerobic respiration in humans is usually broken down once more oxygen is available. The process of lactic acid breakdown requires oxygen and produces the same products as aerobic respiration, carbon dioxide and water.

Now we know the waste product that is formed in anaerobic respiration in humans, so we can answer our question correctly. The waste product is lactic acid.

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