Aerobic respiration (a.k.a. oxidative metabolism, cellular respiration, or aerobic metabolism) is a chemical process in which oxygen is used to make energy from carbohydrates. Aerobic respiration and aerobic decay are basically the reverse of photosynthesis. Therefore, phytoplankton with Redfield molar proportions should respire as follows :
C106H263O110N16P1 + 138 O2 = 106 CO2 + 16 NO3 + HPO42- + 122 H2O + 18 H+ + energy
The function of aerobic respiration is to release the energy and nutrients in organic matter (food) so that they can be assimilated by organisms.
- Drever, J.I. 1982. The Geochemistry of Natural Waters, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewoods Cliffs, N.J., pp. 388.