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Introduction to photosynthesis
What is photosynthesis?
Photosynthesis is a chemical process through which plants, some bacteria and algae, produce glucose and oxygen from carbon dioxide and water, using only light as a source of energy.
This process is extremely important for life on earth as it provides the oxygen that all other life depend on.
What does the plant need glucose (food) for?
Glucose resulting from photosynthesis is used during respiration to release energy that the plant needs for other life processes.
The plant cells also convert some of the glucose into starch for storage. This can then be used when the plant needs them. This is why dead plants are a used as biomass, because they have stored chemical energy in them)
Glucose is also needed to make other chemicals such as proteins, fats and plant sugars that are all need for the plant to carry out essential growth and other life processes.
Water for Photosynthesis
Root cells do not contain chloroplasts, as they are normally in the dark and cannot photosynthesis.
Plants need water for other important things such as:
provide dissolved minerals that keep the plants healthy
provide a medium for transporting minerals
keep the plant firm and upright
keep the plant cool and hydrated
allow other chemical reactions to occur in plant
Where does photosynthesis take place?
What role do these parts play?
Cell walls: provide structural and mechanical support, protect cells against pathogens, maintain and determine cell shape, control the rate and direction of growth and generally provide form to the plant.
Cytoplasm: provides the platform for most chemical processes, controlled by enzymes.
Cell membrane: acts as a barrier, controlling the movement of substances into and out of the cell.
Chloroplasts: As described above, simply contain chlorophyll, a green substance which absorbs light energy for photosynthesis.
Vacuole: the container that hold moisture, and keeps the plant turgid.
Nucleus: this contains genetic make (the DNA), which controls the activities of the cell.
Chlorophyll absorbs the light energy needed to make photosynthesis happen. It is important to note that not all the colour wavelengths of light are absorbed. Plants mostly absorb red and blue wavelengths — they do not absorb light from the green range.