Difference Between Aerobic Bacteria and Anaerobic Bacteria (With Table)

Bacteria are one of the tiniest living organisms that can only be seen through a microscope. It is so small that you cannot look with your naked eye. Some bacteria are wonderful as they can be helpful to human beings in many ways. It is because of the bacteria present in our body that help you to break down the carbohydrates and toxins. Other than that bacteria performs several other functions on our body that are necessary for our body.

Not only human body has certain types of bacteria but animals too have them and even plants too. So, one can say that every living thing around consists of the presence of bacteria in them. There are more than 30,000 bacteria that are named to human beings and two of them include are Aerobic and Anaerobic bacteria.

Aerobic Bacteria vs Anaerobic Bacteria

The main difference between aerobic and anaerobic bacteria is that aerobic organisms require oxygen to support their living in an environment whereas anaerobic bacteria that do not need the support of oxygen for their survival.

The uses of these two types of bacteria in the human and as well animal cells are different and because of their basic distinction, they perform differently in the human body.

Comparison Table Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Bacteria

Parameters of Comparison

Aerobic Bacteria

Anaerobic Bacteria

Oxygen Requirement

Aerobic bacteria need the support of oxygen for their survival.

Anaerobic bacteria, on the other hand, do not need the support of oxygen for their survival.

Energy Production

As they need oxygen for their survival they perform the most significant task of providing more energy by breaking down carbohydrates and other nutrition.

Anaerobic bacteria do not provide much energy when compared to aerobic bacteria.

Final Electron Acceptor

The molecular electron is considered to be the final electron acceptor.

In the case of anaerobic bacteria, the final electron acceptor are carbon dioxide, sulphur, fumarate.


Aerobic bacteria are seen mostly on the surface of a liquid

In the case of anaerobic bacteria, they are seen settled at the bottom of the liquid.


Mycobacterium tuberculosis


What is Aerobic Bacteria?

Aerobic bacteria are bacteria that require oxygen for their survival and without oxygen, they will die. There is a huge significance of aerobic bacteria in the human body as well as for the animals. With the help of this bacteria, the oxygen gets detoxified with the help of certain enzymes.

Detoxifying oxygen is one of the most important tasks in the human body. While these bacteria do not just purify oxygen but it also helps break down food molecules so that you can get energy. Unlike Anaerobic bacteria this bacteria can produce almost double energy than anaerobic.

Aerobic bacteria are present in the human gut where there is less oxygen present and these bacteria too get their energy from food sources. When there is enough supply of oxygen them these bacteria can multiply through a chemical reaction.

Since these bacteria need oxygen for their survival they are mostly seen above a liquid or they are on the surface of the liquid, unlike anaerobic bacteria that are below the liquid. An experiment can be conducted where if you keep both these two types of bacteria in a liquid area then you will see that aerobic bacteria will absorb all the oxygen from the air.

What is Anaerobic Bacteria?

Anaerobic bacteria is another type of bacteria that is just the opposite of aerobic bacteria. Anaerobic bacteria cannot survive when there is the supply of oxygen in a particular area. In many cases, anaerobic bacteria are found where there is no oxygen present in the human body.

Anaerobic bacteria can cause harm where there is no flow of oxygen because in an injured area where there is less flow of oxygen-carrying blood can cause an infection like tetanus and gangrene caused by anaerobic bacteria.

These bacteria do not detoxify oxygen because they do not need oxygen. If oxygen is supplied to them they will die. In Anaerobic bacteria, the final electron acceptor is carbon dioxide, sulphur, and fumarate or ferric.

These bacteria are present at the bottom of the liquid where there is no supply of oxygen. Anaerobic bacteria do provide energy but as compared to aerobic bacteria they produce much less. Whenever a runner runs fast and they face a lack of oxygen then during that time anaerobic respiration occurs and produces lactic acid crystals in the muscles.

Well, because of the creation of lactic crystals in the muscles hurt and then it takes time to heal. Whenever there is a lack of availability of oxygen in human cells or in the animal cells then lactic acid is created.

Main Difference Between Aerobic Bacteria and Anaerobic Bacteria

  • Aerobic bacteria need the support of oxygen for their survival whereas anaerobic bacteria do not need the support of oxygen for their survival.
  • Aerobic bacteria offer much more energy to the cells than anaerobic bacteria.
  • Aerobic respiration help in producing energy with the help of complex processes in the cells.
  • Aerobic bacteria are seen mostly on the surface of a liquid whereas anaerobic bacteria are found below or at the bottom of the liquid.
  • An example of aerobic bacteria is Mycobacterium tuberculosis and an example of anaerobic bacteria is clostridium.


Almost all living beings around us have these two kinds of bacteria present in their cell or in their body. Both of the bacteria perform differently in a human body as it was mentioned earlier how lactic acid is produced inside a runner’s body.


  • https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0032959299001454
  • https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/abs/10.7326/0003-4819-85-4-461