What role does cellular respiration play in the carbon cycle?

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gsenviro eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Cellular respiration is the process by which cells convert food to energy (in the form of ATP molecules). The process can be represented by the following chemical reaction:

`C_6H_12O_6 + 6O_2 -> 6 CO_2 + 6 H_2O + ATP`

In this process, food (in the form of glucose molecules) is broken down, along with the consumption of oxygen. The products of the reaction are carbon dioxide, water and energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) molecules. The process is net producer of carbon dioxide, which makes cellular respiration an integral component of the carbon cycle. An accompanying process, photosynthesis is the sink for carbon dioxide (and uses it to make glucose molecules along with generation of oxygen) and is also an integral part of the carbon cycle. 

Hope this helps. 

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