What is a Waste Product of Photosynthesis

Amongst the basic needs that every plant needs to stay alive and grow, food ranks up there. So, how do plant get their food?

They do so through the process of photosynthesis, a process that is not only vital to plants, algae, and some organisms but is also critical for the existence of the majority of life here on earth.

All green plants and trees use sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to create their main source of energy, which is food.

Although the photosynthesis process is performed differently in different species, the process starts the same way in all. It starts when plant proteins that contain the green chlorophyll pigment absorb energy from sunlight.

The plant then converts it into electrical energy and then converts this into chemical energy. It then inputs water and carbon dioxide into the chemical energy, to give forth carbohydrates that it uses for its nourishment.

Photosynthesis can be defined as the process through which energy is transferred from the sun to a plant.

The process is not only important for being largely responsible for the production and maintenance of oxygen content of the atmosphere of planet earth, but it also supplies a major part of the energy that is essential for sustaining life on earth.

The sugars built by plants during photosynthesis are consumed by humans to drive daily activities.

Does Photosynthesis Have any Waste Products?

Yes, photosynthesis does have a waste product: oxygen.

For every single molecule of glucose that is produced in the process of photosynthesis, it requires six molecules of water, and six molecules of carbon dioxide.

While the water gets split during the light reaction, it releases six molecules of oxygen as a waste product, that is liberated out and into the environment through the opened stomata of the leaf. The oxygen is then utilized by animals and humans during the respiration process.

In the photosynthesis process, the initial process involves decomposing water into oxygen and hydrogen by the use of direct sunlight.

While oxygen gets released as waste, the hydrogen and carbon dioxide then get converted into complex compounds and finally into starch, which is a stable organic compound and water.

Starch, therefore, becomes the first product to be converted in all plants, which they use grow, and produce fruits and flowers too.

Through the photosynthesis process, plants get to help humans who are heterotrophs. This is because humans get their energy by consuming glucose stored in plants.

They do so by consuming the plants directly or by consuming animals that feed on these plants.

10 Facts About the Photosynthesis Process

  • Chloroplasts give the leaves the green color, and the molecules in chlorophyll absorb light wavelengths from the sun, mainly red and blue, and convert them into chemical energy.
  • Chloroplast has two main parts-grana and stroma. Grana has disc-like compartments where light-dependent reactions occur, while grana are the fluid surrounding the stroma, where light-independent reactions take place.
  • The first stage of photosynthesis is the light-dependent one, where energy is captured from the sun that breaks down water molecules to oxygen and hydrogen atoms. This takes place in the leaf’s mesophyll, which is the middle layer of the leaf, and inside the chloroplast. The electrons are then passed along a series of proteins to make molecules ATP or NADPH that are electron carriers.
  • The light-independent Calvin cycle, which is the second stage of photosynthesis uses energy created in the light-dependent reactions to make carbohydrates. The energy is used to keep the process going till sugar molecules that contain six carbons are created.
  • Photosynthesis evolved as a way that plants store energy in solar radiation in the form of high energy electrons that are carbohydrate molecules. One molecule of glucose is made from six water molecules and six carbon dioxide molecules. During the reaction, oxygen molecules are yielded as a waste product.
  • Water used for photosynthesis is transported through the xylem tissue to the leaves, while carbon dioxide enters through stomata, and oxygen exits through the stomata too. The stomata are small openings on the underside of the leaf, that allow for the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen gases, and also plays the role of regulating water loss by swelling or shrinking per the osmotic changes.
  • Glucose molecules that are formed during the photosynthesis process are simple sugars. These are building blocks for complex molecules-cellulose and starch. Plants use cellulose in the plant’s structure for the plant’s cell walls, while starch is used as stored energy.
  • Simple sugars manufactured during photosynthesis become a source of energy to the plant and are used to help them grow. They are sent to different parts of the plant like stems, leaves, roots, flowers, fruits, and seeds.
  • Winter and autumn make the leaves slowdown in the making of chlorophyll and change color from green to other pigments.
  • Other single-celled organisms contain chlorophyll. Protists like algae and some bacteria like cyanobacteria, which are mostly found in aquatic environments also use photosynthesis.
  • The mirror reaction of photosynthesis is cellular respiration. This entails using the chemical energy that is stored in the sugars for growth and reproduction. Glucose combines with oxygen to give forth carbon dioxide and water.

Benefits of Waste Product of Photosynthesis

While plants generate oxygen during the photosynthesis process, they constantly need oxygen to survive.

Just like animals, during the respiration process, plants use oxygen to break down sugars and release energy, which they need for their uses like growth.

This mostly happens at the time when the plant is not able to access light, and so take in more oxygen than they produce at this time. However, growing plants release more energy than that which they consume.

Oxygen released by plants during photosynthesis is essential to animals and humans for breathing and energy. The human body only gets 30%of its energy from food, 70% is from oxygen.

Food is a form of sun energy, which the body uses directly. Humans and animals breathe in air that is rich in oxygen to fill the tiny air sacs in their lungs, allowing body cells to pick up the oxygen and distribute it across the entire body cells.

This oxygen is then used in the process of breaking down body sugars to create energy. People have also come up with ways of pressurizing air as a way of combating elevation related to sickness as a result of moving into some high-elevation areas. The human body is, after all, 60% oxygen.

Pressurized oxygen is sold in high pollution areas like China and Russia, which people buy as a method of improving health, mood, or productivity.

Supplemental oxygen is vital in hospitals and homes, as it is important for use on people that have breathing disorders or other respiratory system challenges.

It is also used when conducting surgeries to keep the vitals functioning, for those patients that have been intentionally rendered paralyzed to allow for the medical procedure to be carried out.

There are certain anaerobic bacteria that on exposure to sufficient oxygen, they die. Oxygen is therefore used in such instances as a sterilizing agent.

Oxygen is used in applications that require high temperatures like welding torches in metal works, steelworks where it helps convert carbon to carbon dioxide and help reduce iron oxides.

Things like vehicles and generators that are not linked to their own electrical supply require oxygen to produce energy.

Oxygen is forced through the water to metabolize waste products in water by increasing the production of bacteria. It is therefore used in water purification and sewage treatment plants.

Oxygen is used in combustion to degrade hydrocarbon compounds and liberate carbon dioxide and water, a process that can also produce propylene, ethylene, and acetylene hydrocarbons.

Rockets and missiles use oxygen as an oxidizing agent. Here, oxygen reacts with liquid hydrogen, producing that thrust that is needed for take-off. Also, the astronaut spacesuits are made in a form that is nearly pure oxygen.

It is good to note that increasing pollution, as is seen around the world, may cause serious havoc in the world if it gets to a point where future photosynthesis cannot support it, and end up causing global warming.

With the process being the most important biological process under planet earth, as we depend on it for existence in many ways than most consider, there is a need to encourage the conversations around global climate change and its effects on photosynthesis.

What Animals Live in Pine Trees

Did you know that there are more than 100 species of pines? Pines are among the most planted and known plants in the world.

They are cone-shaped fruits (are coniferous plants), and leaves that are needle-like make them recognizable from afar.

The pine trees are mainly found in places where there are coniferous forests. They also grow, among other plants that are closely related to the conifers. Some of them include cedars, spruces, and firs.

Advantages of pine trees

All the varieties of pine trees are very important in different ways.

Let’s cover the various advantages of these trees.

Control soil erosion

Did you know that a pine tree is one of the trees tolerable to the sun, cold, drought, and soil conditions?

The roots of this tree hold the soil in place during all the seasons, while the needle-like leaves reduce the impact of the raindrops when it is raining.

Therefore, this makes the pine trees, one of the best trees that prevent different soil erosion, especially on the areas with steep slopes.

Provide food for wild animals

The pine trees have woody cones with seeds that have different nutrients required by animals for their survival. These seeds are among the things that attract the birds and animals to the pine trees.

The fact that all species of pine trees remain evergreen throughout every season ensures that their inhabitants have a food source.

They are a source of income for the economy

Pine trees are also a source of timber that can be used in different construction projects. Therefore, when the wood is sold, it is an added advantage of the economy.

They provide shade

As the pine tree grows, their branches form a canopy. When the sun is scorching, the canopy provides shade to animals, people, insects as well as the plants that grow under the pine trees.

They are a habitat for animals

Pine trees have dense branches and foliages that provide a home to so many animals in the wildlife. The young pine trees have branches extended to the ground, providing protection of the animals against the strong wind, predators, and harsh climatic conditions.

As these trees grow, their branches form a canopy that is very far from the ground. Their trunks are tall and very straight, and therefore no predator can climb into the top of the pine trees.

This ensures that the animals that are living on these trees are safe from their predators. Their branches also offer safe places for nesting and taking care of their young ones. Therefore, they are at home to different animals.

The following are some of the animals that depend on pine trees for shelter.

Birds

The most common animals that inhabit the pine trees are the birds. There are so many different types of birds that live on the different species of pine trees. Some of these birds are small, while others are large.

They include hawks, crows, jays, owls, bald eagles, American robin, and great horned owls, among others. When birds are selecting the type of tree to inhabit, there are things that they check.

For example, pine trees have so many cones that are a source of food for the birds, while the dense branches offer refuge to the birds during all the seasons.

Different types of birds can nest and hide from their predators from these trees. Since the pine trees are always evergreen, birds can build more and more nests on them and raise their g ones on the same trees.

Other birds will also make their homes in the trunks of these trees, especially when the trees are dead. When pine trees are planted in the home compound, you will also find some birds building their nests on these trees.

This is because the pine trees attract so many types of birds and also accommodate them all during any season. When these birds live in the pine trees, they also serve to spread seeds, which leads to the growth of more trees.

Mammals

Most mammals are known to live on the ground shelters, but there are still others that depend on trees for shelter.

There are so many trees that shelter mammals and pine trees are one of them. Some of these mammals that live in the pine trees include:

Squirrels

Squirrels are among the mammals that dwell in pine trees. However, not all species of squirrels live on these pine trees.

The main species of squirrels that are pine dwellers include western gray squirrels, and tassel eared squirrels and red squirrels. All these species depend on the pine nuts for their food.

They make their nests in the pine tree branches while others live in the hollows of these trees. There are seasons when the squirrels depend on the pine seeds for food. This means that the pine tree is very important in the lives of the squirrels.

Bats

Almost every species of bats roost in different species of trees. A significant number of bat species live in the pine trees. The branches of the pine trees offer a conducive environment for the bats which require direct sunlight.

Other species of bats will live in the hollows of the pine trees. The pine trees’ bark also offers a conducive environment to the bat that does not want to have direct sunlight when roosting.

Pine trees qualify as a perfect habitat for the bats since they have all the things that they look for in a shelter. This includes ideal temperature, humidity, and light.

The bats that live on the pine trees are always safe from their predators, unlike those that live in the caves, under the trees, on rocky ground, and on buildings.

Apart from the bats and squirrels, there are other mammals that live on pine trees. They include raccoons, porcupines, and opossums.

Insects

The largest population of insects spends their lives on the conifer trees and other dwarf trees. The pine trees are home to a variety of insects.

For instance, insects like spiders make their webs on the pine trees and spend their lives in the pine trees. On the other hand, Bees make their hives in the pine trees and nest on the pine trees.

This means that the pine tree is a home to so many insects, even those who do not require nests or hives. The other types of and arachnids insects that live in the pine trees include beetles, ants, mosquitoes, butterflies, dragonflies, moths, aphids, mites, and scorpions.

Although these insects and arachnids may not depend on the pine trees for food, they leave the trees to look for food, and then they come back to rest on them.

Amphibians and reptiles

These are cold-blooded animals. Therefore, they require shelters that can offer them an environment with higher humidity. Most coniferous trees grow in environments with lower humidity.

Therefore, such environments are not perfect for cold-blooded animals like reptiles and amphibians. There are a few species of the animals in these classes that live in the pine trees.

They include the tree frogs, especially the gray tree frogs and pine woods tree frogs, and lizard species like iguanas.

Why is Carbon Dioxide Important for Photosynthesis

Most of us know that humans and animals inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, which is absorbed by plants, but do we know why do plants need carbon dioxide?

What is the food source for plants?

There do they get the energy to grow?

There is a lot of talk on why carbon emissions are dangerous for the climate, but do we why it is dangerous for the environment?

Carbon dioxide is an important element in photosynthesis, which is a process that converts energy from sunlight to chemical energy stored in glucose.

The by-product of photosynthesis is oxygen, which is an essential element of life.

Carbon dioxide is important for photosynthesis because it provides the carbon required for the plant to produce glucose, which is used to complete cellular processes in the plant.

These cellular processes enable the plants to develop seeds, grow, make fruit, and form flowers.

What is photosynthesis?

During photosynthesis, plants gather carbon dioxide and water from air and soil. The water goes through oxidation, while the carbon dioxide goes through reduction.

This process converts carbon dioxide into glucose and the water into oxygen. Inside in the plant cell, there is a light-absorbing pigment called chlorophyll, which has the role of absorbing blue and red light waves from sunlight and reflect green light waves.

This gives the plants their green color. Chlorophyll allows us to absorb the energy needed to complete the photosynthesis process.

The process of photosynthesis can be divided into two main types of reactions. There are light-dependent reactions and light-independent reactions.

The light-dependent reactions convert chemical energy in the form of NADPH and ATP. The light-dependent reactions include the Calvin Cycle, during which energy is used to gather glucose from carbon dioxide.

Carbon molecules are converted from carbon dioxide to stored fuel in the form of carbohydrates. These carbohydrates are used as a source of food or energy for the plant.

The process of photosynthesis is often written as the following chemical formula:

6CO2 + 6H2O → C6H12O6 + 6O2

This means that six molecules of carbon dioxide (CO2) react with six molecules of water (H2O) to form glucose molecules and oxygen.

It is not just plants that can photosynthesize, but other eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms also able to harvest their energy from photosynthesis.

The importance of carbon dioxide for plants

Photosynthesis is critical for the existence of life on earth. In a way, how the energy in the biosphere reaches living things on earth. The organisms that use photosynthesis form the primary producers of oxygen in the world.

Almost all of the oxygen on earth comes from photosynthesis. If this process was to stop, the world is left with no oxygen. The importance of photosynthesis extends to many life forms on earth, including plants.

Only organisms that could exist without oxygen are certain bacteria. Everything else is dependent on photosynthesis to produce oxygen.

It has been established that the process of photosynthesis cannot be completed without carbon dioxide. People often used they are feeding the plant by watering them or providing fertilizers, but the needs of the plant are not complete without carbon dioxide and sun.

Photosynthesis is one of the most important processes on earth. Not only is it used by plants but also other microorganisms and algae. Just as humans and animals need respiration to stay alive, plants need photosynthesis.

The entire process of photosynthesis can be summarized as a way to transfer energy from the sun to the plant.

Different types of plants have evolved to require a different amount of water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide. Plants in the desert, such as a cactus plant, are naturally designed to require less water, whereas plants in a pond as an abundance of water. Similarly, different plants require different levels of carbon dioxide.

What effect does increasing levels of carbon dioxide have on photosynthesis?

The amount of carbon dioxide in the world is increasing. According to Climate.gov, carbon dioxide levels in the world are its highest level since 800,000 years.

There are several reasons for the rise in carbon dioxide levels. The primary reason is the increase in the burning of fossil fuels such as oil and coal. These fossil fuels contain carbon, which has been absorbed through hundreds of years of photosynthesis.

You might think that if carbon dioxide is so important to plants, an increasing level of carbon dioxide should be immensely useful to plants, including food crops.

The level of food production in the world should increase, and the entire talk of fossil fuels being bad for the environment should be rubbished. It is true that in complete isolation, increasing levels of carbon dioxide will increase photosynthesis.

However, it is important to note that plants require more than just carbon dioxide to function. They need water, nitrogen, and other nutrients to function.

Any limitations of these essential elements will not allow the plants to grow. This is why plants need fertilizers that contain nitrogen. Any positive effect of increasing carbon dioxide in the world is negated by the increase in global temperature caused by global warming.

The increase in temperature has a devastating effect on plant life.

Future of photosynthesis

The increasing world population and the use of fossil fuels are putting an intense strain on the natural resources of the world. Food security is a critical issue for the survival of life on earth.

If the productivity of crops can be increased, it will have a significant positive impact on the sustainability of life.

Photosynthesis is a magnificent process of nature. However, there is a flaw in the process, or maybe nature intended it to be that way.

The oxygen and carbon dioxide molecules are similar in size and shape. An enzyme by the name of RuBisCO in plants is used to harvest carbon dioxide.

At times, this enzyme harvests an oxygen molecule mistaking it for a carbon dioxide molecule. The harvesting of oxygen molecules instead of carbon dioxide is putting a strain on the energy and resources of plants.

With global warming, the temperature of the earth is increasing. With the increase in temperature, the RubisCO is getting more prone to errors. Water also evaporates faster in increased temperatures.

This is straining the ecosystem of plants around the globe. As the RubisCO enzyme gets limited carbon dioxide, it depletes the energy of the plant is trying to harvest oxygen.

Some plants have evolved to handle this issue by pushing extra carbon dioxide to the RubisCO enzyme. This is like a turbocharged version of photosynthesis.

Plants that can do this are categorized as C4 plants. These plants can be highly effective in hot and dry weather, but as the global climate gets hotter, more of such plants will be seen everywhere.

At the moment, only 3% of the world’s flowering plants take the C4 route to photosynthesis. However, this 3% of the plants account for 24% of the world’s plant primary productivity in the world.

The type of plants mostly using the C4 pathway includes corn and sorghum. If somehow, other productive crops such as rice use the C4 pathway to photosynthesis, it can have an immense impact on the economics and food security of the world.