Process of Photosynthesis

One of the most important life process in plants, photosynthesis helps the plants to generate carbohydrates and oxygen by using carbon dioxide, water and sunlight. This article will answer all your queries about this process.
An important process for all the life forms on the planet, photosynthesis primarily occurs in plants, algae and some species of bacteria, but indirectly helps all the organisms on the planet, including humans. The organisms which resort to photosynthesis to create their own food are known as photoautotrophs. These organisms, plants in particular, convert carbon dioxide into organic compounds by using the energy derived from the Sun. The process is also referred to as carbon fixation process, as it produces some carbon compounds which store chemical energy meant to be used in cell growth

Photosynthesis Process Step by Step

As we mentioned earlier, photosynthesis is a process by which photoautotrophs convert unusable sunlight energy into usable chemical energy. Light, water, chlorophyll and carbon dioxide are the basic requirements for this process. Discussed below are the step-by-step details of the entire process.
  • Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere enters the plant leaf through the stomata. The stomata are minute epidermal pores in the leaves and stem of the plants which facilitate the transfer of various gases and water vapor through them.
  • This is followed by water entering the leaves, primarily through the roots. The roots are designed to draw in the ground water, and transport it to the leaves through the stem.
  • As sunlight falls on the surface of the leaves, the chlorophyll present in the leaves traps the energy in it. Chlorophyll is a green pigment present in the plant leaf, which helps the plant in absorbing sunlight. The green color of the leaf is also attributed to presence of chlorophyll in it.
  • Then hydrogen and oxygen are produced, as the products of photosynthesis, by converting water using the energy derived from the sun. The hydrogen is combined with carbon dioxide in order to make food for the plant, while oxygen is let out by the plant through the stomata. In the same manner, even the algae and bacteria which indulge in this process, use carbon dioxide and hydrogen to prepare food, while oxygen is let out as a waste product.
  • The electrons from the chlorophyll molecules and the protons from the water molecules facilitate chemical reactions in the cell. These reactions produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate), provides energy for cellular reactions, and NADP (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide diphosphate), essential in plant metabolism.
The entire process can be explained by a single chemical formula:

6CO2 + 12H2O + Light → C6H12O6 + 6O2+ 6H2O

While we take in oxygen and give out carbon dioxide to produce energy, plants take in carbon dioxide and give out oxygen to create energy.

Photosynthesis has several benefits, not just for the photoautotrophs, but for humans and animals as well. It helps in maintaining a normal level of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Almost all the oxygen present in the atmosphere can be attributed to this process, which also means that respiration and photosynthesis go together. The chemical energy stored in plants is transferred to animal and humans when they consume plant matter.
Published: December 23, 2009
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