Photosynthesis Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is Photosynthesis?
Photosynthesis is a process in which light energy is used to convert carbon dioxide and water into organic compounds, such as sugar and other organic molecules, using the energy of sunlight. This process occurs in plants, algae, and certain bacteria. Photosynthesis is a vital part of life on Earth as it produces oxygen, which most organisms need to survive. Photosynthesis also plays an important role in the global carbon cycle by storing atmospheric carbon dioxide in plants and releasing oxygen back into the atmosphere.The process of photosynthesis can be broken down into two main stages: light reactions and dark reactions (also known as the Calvin cycle). In the light reactions, photons from sunlight are absorbed by chlorophyll molecules found in plant cells (in particular, those found within specialized organelles called chloroplasts). These photons excite electrons within these molecules; this energy is then used to split water molecules into protons (H+ ions) and electrons which are subsequently used to create ATP (adenosine triphosphate), NADPH (reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate), and oxygen. The ATP and NADPH provide energy for the second stage of photosynthesis where they combine with CO2 to produce glucose through a series of biochemical reactions known as the Calvin Cycle. In summary, photosynthesis is essential for life on Earth as it provides both oxygen and food for many organisms while simultaneously playing an integral role in global carbon cycling. Without this unique process our planet would look much different than it does today.