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Dutchess_III's avatar

Do trees and plants need oxygen to survive?

Asked by Dutchess_III (45728points) November 18th, 2011

Oxygen is a waste product. The trees take in CO2 and release oxygen as a waste product. However, I’m seeing sites that suggest that oxygen is needed as part of the process. I don’t understand. Why would a tree need something it gets rid of as a waste, any more than we would need something back that we give off as a waste.

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8 Answers

Tbag's avatar

I believe they need it for respiration? Somebody please correct me because I remember something about that when I was studying biology. Trees and plants release way more oxygen than they need though.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That’s what I’m trying to get at….what do they need it FOR? Their respiration, as far as I know, is they “breath in” carbon dioxide and “breath out” oxygen. Humans are just the opposite. We breath out carbon dioxide…but do we use carbon dioxide for some body function or is it strictly a waste?

Seaofclouds's avatar

Plants use photosynthesis and respiration for their energy needs. During daylight hours, they do both, but primarily the photosynthesis. When it’s dark, they can not perform photosynthesis, so they rely on respiration. Respiration in plants is when they bring in oxygen, then combine it with sugar (already in their system from the photosynthesis they performed previously) and that yields energy (along with CO2 and water as byproducts).

As far as humans and CO2 is concerned, yes we use it for body functions as well. CO2 plays a major role in helping maintain our normal pH levels (for one example). When we release too much CO2 or retain too much CO2, our bodies can enter into an acidotic or alkalotic state which can be fatal if not reversed quickly enough.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Seaofclouds Can you show me where you got the information?

Seaofclouds's avatar

I knew the plant stuff from school, but here are two links I just found doing a quick search that explains it.

As far as the CO2 and human body, I learned that in nursing school, but I’ll look for a good site that discusses it and get a link for you. Here’s the wiki about CO2 and human physiology. It does a pretty good job explaining the basic role of CO2 in the human body. If you want something a bit more in depth, I’ll have to find something for you. All of my information is in text books.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Excellent! Very nice @Seaofclouds. Thank you.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Dutchess_III I’m hurt you didn’t believe a farmboy. Just kidding. It’s a little known fact.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh! There you are @Adirondackwannabe! I was going to bring this to you, but I got busy.
Thanks for the edjacashun. : )

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