Given the fact that plants cannot do photosynthesis at night but need respiration for their energy needs, they use up oxygen and generate carbon dioxide. But how much is this? If I fill a room with plants thoroughly, what composition will the air in this room be in the morning? Are different plant species vastly different in this regard?

  • $\begingroup$ I saw this and thought, "surely this is google-able"! For me, a non-expert in plants, there seem to be different results for different plant types and this makes getting an answer tricky on the scholar, and on regular google, it's hard wading through the basic level material. I'm sure for an expert this is an easy answer. $\endgroup$
    – James
    Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 5:22
  • $\begingroup$ @James: I first googled it, but I just stumbled upon answers from people not educated in the matter, who just made wild guesses. I hope to find an answer that is more fact backed than what I found out in the wild of the internet. $\endgroup$
    – gexicide
    Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 11:59

1 Answer 1


Roughly, half of the CO2 assimilated annually through photosynthesis is released back to the atmosphere by plant respiration (Gifford, 1994; Amthor, 1995).



Furthermore, it appears like plant respiration rates do not change much with changing temperature, and that larger plants have higher respiration rates.


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