What is photosynthesis? | Gardening On

Plants use photosynthesis to grow

Photosynthesis is a process through which life, as we know it, can exist. Not only the plants benefit, but also the animals since we breathe oxygen, a gas that the leaves expel.

It is very interesting to know in depth photosynthesis, since there are several phases, and there are even some plants that, due to the climatic conditions in which they live, have learned to do it in a slightly different way.

What is photosynthesis?

La photosynthesis is a process by which plants transform sunlight into energytherefore, they perform it only during the day. Those in charge of fulfilling this important function are the chloroplasts, which are greenish structures found on leaves.

Their color is due to chlorophyll, which is a biomolecule without which the plant kingdom could not photosynthesize. It is so important that plants with variegated leaves (i.e. green and yellow for example) grow more slowly than those with completely green leaves. In addition, they are more vulnerable to sunlight, suffering burns more quickly than those that are green.

The scheme of photosynthesis of plants is as follows:

Photosynthesis is a process in plantsPhotosynthesis is a plant process

Image – Wikimedia Commons / Meily Poot

What are the phases of photosynthesis in plants?

As we anticipated at the beginning, photosynthesis has two phases, which are:

Light phase

The light phase is the one that takes place during the day. We could say that it is photosynthesis itself; not in vain, it is during the day when the sun is high and consequently when plants can absorb its light energy.

It consists of transforming that light into energy, mainly in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and NADPH (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate), with the help of water and oxygen that the roots and leaves absorb respectively.

Dark phase

La dark phase is the final phase of photosynthesis, and consists of converting carbon dioxide and other substances into glucosewhich constitutes food for plants.

To do this, they use both ATP and NADPH produced in the light phase, and also perform two more processes: the fixation of carbon in carbohydrates, and the Calvin cycle. In this last process, organic matter is stored as glucose.

Do all plants photosynthesize in the same way?

Photosynthesis is carried out by chloroplasts

Photosynthesis is carried out by chloroplasts.

Not really. In fact, depending on how they fix carbon, three types of plants have been identified:

  • C3 plants: they are those that fix carbon dioxide in the Calvin cycle. They are the commons.
  • C4 plantsWhat they do is transform carbon dioxide into malate, which will be taken to the cells producing CO2 and pyruvate. Only then will the Calvin cycle begin. Learn More.
  • CAM plants: they are plants that, due to the high daytime temperatures, keep their pores closed until the night. As a result, they cannot absorb carbon dioxide and therefore photosynthesize. Thus, they absorb it during the night transforming into malate, which during the day allows them to produce CO2 and carry out the Calvin cycle. Learn More.

What is the function of photosynthesis?

Basically in transform the sun’s energy into food for plants through a series of chemical reactions in which they use not only sunlight, but also carbon dioxide and water. As a consequence, they expel oxygen, a gas that we all depend on to breathe.

Now, it is important to clarify that the expulsion of O2 is not counted as a function, but as a result of photosynthesis. Animals, including humans, depend on the plant kingdom to exist. But, it may surprise you to know that, although terrestrial plants are very important for life, if we have to say which living being is that produces the most oxygen, we might be surprised.

Phytoplankton, the producer of up to 85% of atmospheric oxygen

Phytoplankton produce more than half of the oxygen

Phytoplankton produce more than half of the oxygen

Yes, phytoplankton, organisms that live in aquatic environments (seas, swamps, rivers), which, by absorbing the sun’s energy, carry out photosynthesis, expelling oxygen. Many of the beings that form it are cyanobacteria, green algae and diatoms.

Therefore, they and not the forests are the basis of life. But not only because of oxygen, but also because the food chains begin with them. Any change that occurs in the water, such as heating, or acidification of it, will prevent them from performing their functions normally.

Phytoplankton produces more than half of the oxygen available on this planetThat is why it is very important to take care of the seas, but also the land environment, since we cannot forget that deforestation and pollution are two of the causes that climate change is accelerating.

We hope that everything you have learned about photosynthesis has been useful to you.

What is photosynthesis? | Gardening On

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