Photosynthesis and Cell Respiration

Courtney Chen and Lindsey Reimer

What is Photosynthesis?

Photosynthesis is the process in which plants and other organisms use sunlight to create energy from carbon dioxide and water. The light energy is absorbed from pigments in the thylakoid of the chloroplast. When energy is absorbed it is splits water into hydrogen and oxygen during light dependent interactions. ATP provides the energy needed to run the light independent reactions.

There are 3 stages of photosynthesis. In Stage 1 energy is captured from the sunlight. In Stage 2, light energy is converted to chemical energy which is stored in ATP. In Step 3, chemical energy in ATP powers the formation of organic compounds using carbon dioxide. This energy is stored in chemical bonds of glucose. The products of photosynthesis are sugar and water.


Chemical Equation of Photosynthesis: 6CO2 + 6H2O =light energy=> C6H12O6 + 6O2

What is Cellular Respiration?

Cellular Respiration occurs in all living organisms and breaks up sugars that the cell can use for energy. This occurs in the mitochondria of the cell where the carbohydrates break down. There are 2 different types of cellular respiration, aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic is with oxygen while anaerobic is without.

There are 3 stages of Aerobic Cellular Respiration. Glycolysis which breaks down the glucose, Krebs's cycle which releases carbon dioxide, and the electron transport chain where water is released and the production of ATP occurs. There is a total of 36-38 ATP that are created during aerobic cellular respiration, which provides most of the energy for the cell.

Anaerobic cellular respiration continues to make ATP through glycolysis. This takes place in the cytoplasm. It has 2 different types of fermentation, Lactic Acid and Alcoholic. They both only generate 2 ATP, which is a very little amount.


Chemical Equation of Cellular Respiration: C₆H₁₂O₆ + 6O₂ → 6CO₂ + 6H₂O + energy

Plant Cell

Photosynthesis only occurs in the plant cell. First, the roots of a plant absorb water. Then, the water is transported through the xylem, or water carrying tubes, to the leaves attached to the stem. The carbon dioxide exhaled out by animals in the air goes into the pores, or stomata, of the leaves and disperse to the cells consisting of the chlorophyll in the chloroplast of the leaf. The water in the plant is broken down by sunlight into oxygen which the plant releases. The remaining hydrogen works with the carbon dioxide, making food for the plant. In plant cellular respiration, every part respires separately. In the day, plants respire carbon dioxide and in the night they respire O2 or oxygen. The reason why plants respire is to create starch (food). Throughout their body surface air is absorbed by plants through diffusion.

Animal Cell

First of all, animal cells do not go through photosynthesis because they do not have a chloroplast. In animal cellular respiration there is a specific organ that facilitates respiration called the respiratory system. This includes the lungs, bloodstream, and small intestine. Animals only take in 1 type of gas, oxygen. The reason why animals respire is to utilize the gas procured in order to make energy from the food that has already been consumed. Other than animals who breathe through their body surface, most will have some kind of ventilation to expedite the air movement.
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