Do Plants Need Oxygen? Respiration & Plant Energy Explained

For living, plants require oxygen just like animals do. Consequently, oxygen is a crucial component of plant life. It is necessary for respiration, a mechanism that breaks down sugars (cellular respiration).

Plants require oxygen for respiration, which takes place in the mitochondria of cells. Here, complex sugars made during photosynthesis are broken down with oxygen to produce energy, carbon dioxide, and water. The energy generated during this process, known as anaerobic respiration, is used to fuel plant development.

Plant tissues’ lifespan and correct growth are both maintained by respiration.

Do Plants need Oxygen?

Both plants and animals on Earth value oxygen as a priceless treasure. Plants might not be able to break down the glucose molecule in the absence of oxygen.

The plant won’t breathe and will eventually die.

In the course of respiration, which often takes place at night, plants use oxygen, which aids in the breakdown of glucose and preserves the carbon cycle in each cell.

Plants consume oxygen during the day for the process of photosynthesis, and as a byproduct, they exhale it.

As a result, since oxygen is not required to produce or synthesize food, plants do not utilise it during the day.

Where Does Oxygen Come From?

Oceans typically provide the oxygen that plants and animals require to break down food.

Oxygen is produced in large amounts by plants like kelp, algal plankton, and phytoplankton.

Scientists estimate that between 50 and 60 percent of oxygen comes exclusively from seas.

Only one little photosynthetic bacteria, Prochlorococcus, is responsible for producing 20% of the oxygen in the biosphere.

On the other hand, during the process of photosynthesis, the plant itself prepares oxygen.

During the night, that oxygen is used by both plants and animals for regular function.

Additionally, the atmosphere contains a large amount of oxygen.

Utilizing the specific holes or lenticels that are typically found on the plant body’s trunk, plants take in this oxygen during the night.

The oxygen produced by the atmosphere or the ocean (by the ocean plants) cannot be used by plants during the day.

This is due to the fact that plants create their oxygen as a byproduct of photosynthesis.

Photosynthesis reaction:

How do Plants get Oxygen?

Through the stomata, where it enters the plant and is utilized by the mitochondria in plant cells, plants absorb oxygen from the air surrounding them. We refer to this as aerobic respiration.

Respiration reaction:

Approximately 20.8 percent of the oxygen in air.

Similar to people, plants too utilize oxygen for breathing.

Respiration is a process that produces energy in living things by releasing carbon dioxide from the oxidation of complex organic compounds and consuming oxygen.

The epidermis of tree leaves contains cell structures called stomata, which are important in the exchange of water and carbon dioxide between plants and the atmosphere.

In plants, there are two different types of respiration:


In photorespiration, respiration occurs when light is present.

Dark Respiration 

Without any light, carbon dioxide is exhaled during dark respiration.

Photorespirationdark breathing
Photosynthesis is the opposite process of photorespiration, which is the respiration process when carbon dioxide is released.In a process known as “dark respiration,” carbon dioxide is exhaled in the absence of light.
Illumination is necessary for photorespiration.Dark respiration occurs without light.
The Calvin cycle is a requirement for photorespiration.Calvin cycle influence is present in dark respiration.
A glycolate pathway is involved in photorespiration.The glycolate route, Krebs cycle, and terminal oxidation are all involved in dark respiration.
In photorespiration, one NH3 molecule is released for every CO2 molecule.During dark respiration, no NH3 is produced.
Photorespiration is a process that wastes energy.A mechanism that produces energy is dark respiration.
Does photorespiration require a temperature range of 25–35?The temperature has no bearing on dark respiration.

The Plant Cell

Green plants are photosynthetic eukaryotes belonging to the kingdom Plantae, which include eukaryotic cells called plant cells. Their major cell walls, which contain cellulose, hemicelluloses, and pectin, are among their distinguishing characteristics [Source]

Parts of the Plant Cell

Cell Membrane –

All cells have a cell membrane, also known as a plasma membrane, which separates the interior of the cell from the external environment.

Chloroplast –

Plant cells contain organelles called chloroplasts that use the photosynthetic process to transform light energy into comparatively stable chemical energy.

Nucleus –

Organizes the cell’s operations, which include protein synthesis, development, and reproduction, as well as the storage of the genetic material, or DNA, in the cell (cell division).

Vacuole – 

maintains turgor pressure and water storage in a plant cell. Additionally, it forces the cell’s contents toward the membrane, enabling plant cells to absorb more light energy for photosynthesis, the process of turning sunlight into food.

Mitochondria –

The primary energy producers for each cell and consequently for the entire plant are mitochondria.

What Plant Cell uses Oxygen

The plant cell’s mitochondria are where oxygen is used during respiration.

The energy-producing center of the cell, the mitochondria absorb the food produced during photosynthesis, break it down in the presence of oxygen, and provide energy for the plant to consume.

Depending on the availability and demand of oxygen, various cells have varying numbers of mitochondria present and can create varying amounts of energy at a given time.

How Much Oxygen Do Plants Need?

Plants require oxygen for respiration (gaseous exchange) and for homeostasis, particularly at night.

They require a large amount of oxygen at night for their cellular functions. Therefore, it is advised against resting beneath plants or trees at night.

It may be a significant factor in lowering the oxygen content because plants need the most oxygen.

Therefore, it might result in suffocation, and the person under the tree could pass out from a lack of air.

As a result of this widespread discussion, it is simple to conclude that oxygen is necessary for plant existence or to estimate the amount of oxygen that plants would require.

Do Plant Roots Need Oxygen?

Of course, plants need a lot of oxygen to grow and adequately feed their roots.

It is a popular belief that a plant’s body grows at the fastest rate near the tips of its twigs, branches, or roots.

Therefore, enough oxygen would be needed for the roots to grow properly.

Plants adapt for this reason in order to take in the most oxygen possible from their surroundings.See how to make the water more dissolved oxygen-rich for plants.

Longer roots would aid the plant in absorbing more water from the soil’s subsurface region, which is one of the primary reasons for proper root growth.

Aquaculture is a clear example of the necessity for oxygen in roots. Root health is essential to plant health when plants are grown in water, whether they are hydroponically or aquaponically, and it is closely related to the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water.

While oxygen-deficient conditions might result in black, decaying roots, environments with sufficient oxygen produce healthy, white roots.

As a result of the roots’ inability to absorb nutrients from their environment, the general health of the plant suffers.

Can Plants Survive Without Oxygen?

No, plants require oxygen to survive. Like mammals, they will eventually perish if they do not receive enough oxygen.

To carry out the process of respiration, plants use oxygen.

Plants are unable to break down the glucose molecules in the absence of oxygen.

Because of this, the intact glucose molecules would be unable to provide the plant body with the necessary quantity of energy for it to carry out its daily tasks.

Therefore, the lack of oxygen would be a factor in the death and deterioration of the plant’s physical components.

However, plants will exert all of their energy to meet the need by dissolving some food molecules in the absence of oxygen.

However, this will generate the least quantity of energy, which is insufficient to power all of the plant’s functions.

Therefore, the plant might fail. It is a prevalent belief that plants require oxygen to survive, and this is absolutely accurate.

Additional analysis reveals that:

Lack of oxygen causes the plant’s cells to become acidified, which produces lactate and ethanol and lays the groundwork for fermentation.

Because of this, plants without oxygen will essentially ferment and die.

Fermentation reaction:

Plants can survive for years in a contained space like a terrarium by recycling the benefits and consequences of photosynthesis and respiration.

In an enclosed ecosystem known as a terrarium, plants and bacteria coexist harmoniously. There are no additional gases or nutrients added. Only external light is available.

Despite the fact that plants make oxygen through photosynthesis, they need it to survive.

Do Plants Use More Oxygen During The Daylight or at Night?

According to general observations, plants utilize the least quantity of oxygen during the day and the most during the night.

It’s because plants employ a process called photosynthesis during the day to create their nourishment as a result of the sunlight.

As a result of the process, an excessive amount of oxygen is created.

So, when exposed to sunshine, they manufacture oxygen on their own.

However, since photosynthesis cannot take place during the night due to a lack of sunshine, all other activities—aside from food synthesis—require a high quantity of oxygen.

According to what was described, plants need oxygen for many of their cellular functions in order to function and cannot survive or exist without it.

Even a temporary scarcity of oxygen could be a major factor in the plant’s demise.

How do Plants Purify the Air?

Through photosynthesis, plants sanitize the air. Through its leaves, the plant takes in carbon dioxide, which then undergoes a chemical reaction with the chlorophyll in the presence of light to make glucose (plant food) and oxygen that is then released back into the atmosphere.

By inhaling air through their pores in their roots and stomata on the underside of their leaves, plants purify the air in our living environment.

VOCs (Volatile Organic Substances), which are harmful compounds produced by numerous materials in our homes and offices, are filtered by plants, releasing oxygen into the air we breathe.

Does Soil Need Oxygen?


As previously said, roots require oxygen to grow in order to produce nourishment.

The majority of oxygen deficit in plants is caused by waterlogging, which occurs when water fills up all the soil pore spaces, suffocating the roots and ultimately the entire plant.

As a result, plants’ leaves start to yellow and fall off.

The majority of the oxygen needed by the plant to survive is absorbed by the roots.


Living creatures called microbes work in the soil to convert organic materials into nutrients that plants can need.

Energy is needed for the organic substance to be broken down. The energy required to carry out such tasks is produced by respiration in microorganisms using the oxygen that is present in the soil.


Worms are larger creatures that dwell in the soil as well and obtain oxygen through diffusion.

They breathe by receiving oxygen through their skin, which is subsequently transported by a network of capillaries to the parts that need it.

Worms will consume more oxygen since they are larger than bacteria.

These soil creatures will also suffocate and perish without oxygen.

Will Plants Grow Bigger if Given More Oxygen?

One of the most crucial photosynthesis enzymes, rubisco, can bind to oxygen and cause less effective photorespiration rather than photosynthesis.

In terms of plant growth, high oxygen levels won’t be any more advantageous.


Do plants need carbon dioxide or oxygen to grow?

For survival, plants require both carbon dioxide and oxygen. For survival, plants require both carbon dioxide and oxygen.

Why do plants not take in oxygen during the day?

Plants use the process of photosynthesis to convert solar energy into food. To create sugar and oxygen, they require soil-based water and atmospheric carbon dioxide. Most plants only release oxygen during the day, when photosynthesis can be powered by the light.

Why do plants not give oxygen during the day?

Plants use the process of photosynthesis to convert solar energy into food. To create sugar and oxygen, they require soil-based water and atmospheric carbon dioxide. Most plants only release oxygen during the day, when photosynthesis can be powered by the light.

Do plants need oxygen at night?

When photosynthesis cannot occur at night, plants continue to use oxygen but do not release any into the space.

Why do plants take in oxygen in the dark?

What occurs, though, at night when there isn’t any sunlight, which is essential for photosynthesis? Fascinatingly, plants need to take in oxygen from the air and release carbon dioxide in order to maintain their metabolism and continue breathing at night (which is exactly what animals do).