Transport of Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide through Respiration

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Respiration is an essential mechanism of a human body as it is responsible for producing energy. Subsequently, it helps to convert food into chemical energy to facilitate cellular activities.

Furthermore, it is responsible for supplying oxygen to cells and eliminating carbon dioxide from the system. Keeping these in mind, let’s proceed to find out respiration and the process of transport of oxygen and carbon dioxide in brief. 

What is Respiration?

It is a catabolic process wherein living organisms inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, enabling the body to release required energy. Notably, the transport of gases takes place in blood cells. 

Needless to say, the active transport of gases in blood cells depends mostly on the respiratory organs. For instance, pharynx, trachea, soundbox, bronchi, bronchioles, alveoli, etc. have a significant role in the human respiratory system.

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Fig : Human respiratory system

Test Your Knowledge: _________ is responsible for the transport of respiratory gases.

  1. Digestive system

  2. Reproductive system 

  3. Respiratory system 

  4.  Skeletal system.

Steps of Respiration

Several steps have to be completed to initiate and complete the transportation and diffusion process. 

Following pointers highlight the carbon dioxide and oxygen transport steps in respiration.

  1. Pulmonary ventilation or breathing, which helps to draw in the atmospheric air and also allows releasing the carbon dioxide-rich air out.

  2. Diffusion of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the alveolar membrane.

  3. Transport of gases in blood.

  4. Transport of oxygen and carbon dioxide in blood cells and tissues.

  5. Absorption of oxygen by cells to initiate catabolic reactions.

  6. Release of carbon dioxide or cellular respiration

DIY: Find out about these steps in detail and write them down in your words.

Oxygen and Respiration

As much as 97% oxygen is transported by RBC in blood while the rest gets dissolved in plasma. Haemoglobin irreversibly mixes with oxygen to form oxyhaemoglobin; it is entirely dependent on the pressure of oxygen, carbon dioxide, temperature and concentration of H+.  

The alveoli offer an ideal condition for the formation of oxyhaemoglobin. On the other hand, the tissues tend to harbour contrasting conditions which leads to dissociation of oxygen from the oxyhaemoglobin. On average, every 100ml of oxygenated blood can deliver around 5ml of oxygen to tissues. 

Carbon Dioxide and Respiration

Around 20-25% of carbon dioxide is transported through RBCs, and 70% is transmitted as bicarbonate. Notably, around 7% of dissolved carbon dioxide is transported through plasma. 

Carbon dioxide gets bound with haemoglobin with the help of the partial pressure exerted by carbon dioxide and oxygen. As the concentration of carbon dioxide is high in the tissues, the process of binding carbon dioxide occurs automatically. 

Next, the enzyme, carbonic anhydrase facilitates the reaction, wherein the carbon dioxide dissociates from carbamino-haemoglobin. As a result, the bicarbonates formed in tissues release carbon dioxide in alveoli. Every 100ml of deoxygenated blood delivers around 4ml of carbon dioxide to alveoli. 

Respiratory System Disorder 

The mechanism of respiration is quite important in the human body, owing to the array of reactions it imitates and facilitates. However, often the respiratory system is subjected to some pathogenic conditions.

These following are some common respiratory diseases which bother human beings.

  1. Asthma.

  2. Emphysema.

  3. Pneumonia.

  4. Chronic bronchitis. 

  5. Cystic fibrosis.

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is Respiration?

Ans. It is a process through which human beings breathe in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Since it is a catabolic process, it helps to convert food into small molecules to release energy.

2. How Carbon Dioxide is Carried in the Blood?

Ans. Though a significant part of carbon dioxide is transported as carbamino-haemoglobin, a large portion is transported in the form of bicarbonate. Also, a small portion of carbon dioxide gets dissolved in plasma. 

3. What are the Major Respiratory Organs?

Ans. These are the major respiratory organs in human beings including the nose, larynx, pharynx, bronchi, trachea and lungs. Together they facilitate the transport of oxygen and carbon dioxide and facilitate the energy reaction in the body.