Plants are essential for life on Earth because they produce oxygen through a process known as photosynthesis. The point of photosynthesis is to take the energy possessed in light and use this to power photosynthesis, which is an enzymatic process that takes place in the chloroplasts of cells.
At the same time, it is important for everyone to understand what is needed to power photosynthesis. There are a few raw materials that are required to power this chemical reaction, which is essential to life on Earth.
Photosynthesis Requires Light, Water, and Carbon Dioxide
Photosynthesis is a chemical reaction that takes place in plant cells. It uses light to convert water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and sugar. This process is much more complicated than a chemical equation on a piece of paper, so read on to find out more!
Photosynthesis is Complicated
In order for photosynthesis to proceed correctly, there are a bunch of moving parts that have to work together in perfect harmony. Some of the key points to remember include:
- The process of photosynthesis evolved as a way for living things to store energy from the sun as electrons in certain molecules
- Photoautotrophs are the only living things that are capable of carrying out photosynthesis
- Photoautotrophs include algae, plants, and cyanobacteria
- Heterotrophs which cannot produce their own food need the carbohydrates produced via photosynthesis in order to survive
All processes in all living creatures require energy. This includes people. In order to get this energy, most organisms eat their food; however, this is not always the case.
While carnivores eat other animals and herbivores eat plants, some living creatures make their own food through a process known as photosynthesis.
The reality is that photosynthesis is required for life to survive on Earth. This is the only biological process that takes energy from outer space (in the form of sunlight) and converts it into chemical energy.
When photosynthesis takes place, this energy is stored in the form of G3P, which stands for glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate. Then, this molecule is used to make sugars and a variety of other molecular compounds.
Plants then take these compounds to power their other metabolic processes. On the other hand, animals rely on other organisms and consume them to power their metabolic processes.
How Does The Process of Photosynthesis Happen?
In order for photosynthesis to take place, the leaves of plants take sunlight and use it to power their electronics. When the sun’s rays strike the leaves of plants, it provides more energy to electrons, promoting them to a higher energy level.
This takes place in the covalent bonds of various carbohydrates in the plants. The added energy to these covalent bonds is used to power a number of plant processes.
Keep in mind that plants, algae, and specific bacteria are the only living organisms that are capable of carrying out this process. They use light to make their own food, which is why they are called photoautotrophs.
In this manner, photosynthesis evolved as a way to store energy from the sun. It is stored in the covalent bonds mentioned above.
These carbohydrates are the main energy source for the rest of the world and are used to power cellular respiration, which makes ATP. ATP is the main energy molecule for the rest of the planet.
In this manner, photosynthesis powers more than 99 percent of all ecosystems on Earth. When a predator eats an animal, it is possible to trace the energy in that animal back to the process of photosynthesis in some way, shape, or form.
The Main Structures of Photosynthesis
In autotrophs, photosynthesis can take place in a variety of locations. These include chlorophyll, chloroplasts, and thylakoids. The chemical equation of photosynthesis is as follows:
6CO2 + 6H2O ==> C6H12O6 + 6O2. This equation needs sunlight to work.
Some of the added points to keep in mind include:
In plants, the process of photosynthesis takes place in the mesophyll of leaves. This is located inside the plant’s chloroplasts.
- Chloroplasts have structures that are shaped like discs. These are called thylakoids.
- Thylakoids contain chlorophyll, which is the pigment that gives the structure its color.
- Chlorophyll absorb portions of the visible spectrum. When it absorbs light, it captures the energy.
Photosynthesis is a process that takes place in multiple steps. It requires water, carbon dioxide, and sunlight in order to be completed. The products are G3P and oxygen.
These are simple carbs that are high in energy that can be converted into other sugars, such as glucose, down the road. These molecules store energy in the form of their covalent bonds.
When organisms consume sugar molecules, they break the covalent bonds and release the energy they contain, allowing them to do work.
The energy from the sun is needed to power the chemical reaction described above. Without the energy, the equation doesn’t have enough power to move in the forward direction.
It is important to note that there are a lot of steps involved in the chemical equation. What is shown is the substrates and final products, not the intermediaries.
Photosynthesis Takes Place in the Leaves
In plants, photosynthesis usually is carried out in its leaves. While the leaves might look thin, they are actually made up of several layers.
The process of photosynthesis actually takes place in the middle layers. This is called the mesophyll. In this layer, carbon dioxide and oxygen are exchanged through small homes called stomata.
These holes also play a role in the regulation of the plant’s water balance. Usually, these holes are located on the undersides of the leaves, which serve to minimize water loss.
Each stoma is guarded by cells that regulate its opening and closing in response to osmotic changes.
The actual process of photosynthesis takes place in a structure called chloroplasts. This is true in eukaryotes, which are multicellular organisms. Chloroplasts have two separate membranes.
Inside, there are disc-shaped structures which are called thylakoids. These thylakoids contain a pigment called chlorophyll, which absorbs certain portions of the visible light spectrum.
When it absorbs light, it captures energy. The chlorophyll are responsible for giving plants their green color.
Photosynthesis Takes Place in Two Parts
The actual process of photosynthesis actually takes place in two parts. The first is called the light-dependent reaction, which cannot go without sunlight.
The second part is called the light-independent reaction, which proceeds without the help of sunlight.
The light-dependent reactions require sunlight. In this reaction, energy from the sun strikes the chlorophyll and converts it into chemical energy. This takes place via the electron carrier molecules, NADPH and ATP.
These reactions take place in the thylakoids themselves. Once light strikes the thylakoids and the process moves forward, the reaction proceeds through two separate photosystems in the thylakoids themselves. Each one plays a role in capturing the energy in excited electrons.
These electrons are transported via energy career molecules which will then power the light-independent reactions.
The photosystems have a light-harvesting complex and a reaction center. There are pigments in the light-harvesting complex that take light energy and pass it to chlorophyll molecules.
Then, the chlorophyll pass the electrons to something called an electron acceptor. In the second photosystem, the electron comes from the splitting of water. When the electron is taken from water, oxygen is generated as a waste product.
The two photosystems themselves actually oxidize different sources of low-energy electron supplies. One uses water while the other uses the electron transport chain. After this, the light-independent reactions take place.
The light-independent reactions are also called the Calvin cycle. Energized electrons move from the light-dependent reactions to provide energy in the form of carbs and carbon dioxide.
Even though these reactions do not require light to move forward, they do require the right materials. These are ATP and NADPH, which come from the light-dependent reactions. Both of these molecules release their energy during the Calvin cycle and power the production of carbohydrate molecules, such as sugar, which was mentioned above.
Once this cycle finishes, the electron carrier molecules return to the light-dependent reactions to pick up more electrons and power another round of the Calvin cycle.
Both parts of photosynthesis are important to generate oxygen and sugar. Without photosynthesis, most living creatures would cease to exist because they cannot make their own food. It is important to understand how photosynthesis takes place.