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Life Processes

Life Processes: Definition, Types, Diagrams, Examples

Life processes are vital processes that are necessary for the proper health and functioning of an organism. Without these essential life processes taking place, an organism would cease to survive. Let us look at the different types of life processes in subsequent sections.


The different types of life processes essential for survival are:

  • Nutrition
  • Transportation
  • Respiration
  • Reproduction
  • Excretion



Nutrition is the mechanism through which an organism consumes food and converts it into energy. Thus, it is a crucial biological mechanism that allows living organisms to get their energy.
Nutrients are essential as they supply nourishment to the body based on its needs.

The way a species obtains its nutrition differs from one species to the next. For example, all green plants are autotrophic, meaning they produce their food through the all-important process called photosynthesis, which involves sunlight, CO2, and H2O. Plants are unique in that they survive in an autotrophic manner. To prepare their food, they use photosynthesis.

Because they rely on vegetation for sustenance, animals are classified as heterotrophs. The holozoic form of nourishment is found in all vertebrates, including humans and certain unicellular species like amoeba. Holozoic Nutrition is a type of heterotrophic nutrition in which solid food is consumed.


Transportation takes place in both plants and animals. However, the transportation systems among both of them are entirely diverse.

In animals, the circulatory system takes care of transporting blood, oxygen, and nutrients from the heart to the bodily tissues via the arteries. The impure blood and waste materials are carried back from the tissues to the heart to be purified. This occurs through the veins.

In plants, however, specialized tissues are involved in the transportation of nutrients and other materials. They are known as the Xylem and Phloem. Xylem carries water from the roots up to the stem, whereas Phloem transports food prepared by the leaves by photosynthesis to the other parts of the plant.


In Biology, respiration refers to the gaseous exchange that occurs and the combustion of nutrients. In simpler terms, breathing is referred to as external respiration. However, respiration involves a chemical process that occurs within the cell.


The above equation is the equation for respiration. Here, one molecule of glucose is broken down to obtain energy. This reaction takes place in the mitochondria, also known as the powerhouse of the cell. Energy would be released in the form of ATP.

This reaction can take place either in the presence or absence of oxygen.

When respiration takes place in the presence of oxygen, it is called aerobic respiration. Moreover, when it proceeds without oxygen, it is called anaerobic respiration.

In plants, respiration occurs through the roots, stems, and leaves. The stomata, tiny pores present in the leaves, take in oxygen to break down glucose into water and carbon dioxide. The roots and stems absorb air as well. While the roots use the oxygen to release energy for long-term use, the stem transports the oxygen to the stomata for its use.


Reproduction is a life process that helps to maintain the continuity of the species and hence their survival. It produces genetic variability in the offspring. There are primarily two modes of reproduction – sexual and asexual.

Sexual Reproduction: When both parents are involved in reproducing their progeny, it is referred to as sexual reproduction.

Asexual Reproduction: When a single parent reproduces their children, it is referred to as asexual reproduction. E.g. -: Budding, Binary fission.


Excretion is the process of removing harmful waste from the body. Excretion occurs in a variety of ways, and it varies depending on the type of living organism.

Plants excrete in a variety of ways. Stomata are the structures that release O2 during photosynthesis, and CO2 is expelled out of the plants during respiration. Transpiration removes excess water. They expel dead cells as well as plant elements such as leaves. Gums and resins, for example, are other waste products.

On the other hand, humans have the luxury of a much more sophisticated excretory system. The parts are a pair of kidneys, a pair of ureters that emerge from each kidney and connect to a urine housing organ called the urinary bladder. Urine is expelled out of this urinary bladder via the urethra.

After filtering, the oxygenated blood travels to various body regions, while the waste materials are excreted and transported through the ureter by the kidneys.

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