What is the importance of photosynthesis to life on earth
14 Uses of Plants & their Importance to Humans & Nature
Photosynthesis is critical for the existence of the vast majority of life on Earth. It is the way in which virtually all energy in the biosphere becomes available to living things. As primary producers, photosynthetic organisms form the base of Earth’s food webs and are consumed directly or indirectly by all higher life-forms. Apr 13, · Plants help maintain gaseous balance in the air. Animals emit carbon dioxide by taking in oxygen. This rise in carbon dioxide levels in the air is reduced by plants. They consume carbon dioxide and release oxygen during photosynthesis. Thus oxygen, the essential life force, is kept intact on the earth due to plants alone. 3. Prevent soil erosion.
Photosynthesis is the process through which plants convert light energy from the sun to chemical energy. The chemical energy is then stored as sugar. During the process of photosynthesis, plants capture light energy and use it to convert water, carbon dioxide, and minerals into oxygen released into the air and glucose stored in the plant and used as food. The photosynthesis process occurs in all plants and algae, as well as in some bacteria species. In addition to light energy, the process also requires water and carbon dioxide.
And the end product is sugar. Photosynthesis takes place inside plant cells in small things called as chloroplasts using chlorophyll — the green pigment in plants. While it usually occurs in leaves, it can also take place in stems albeit in minute proportion. According to Britannica. During photosynthesis in green plants, light energy is captured and used to convert water, carbon dioxide, and minerals into oxygen and energy-rich organic compounds.
Despite the fact that photosynthesis occurs in plants and algae, it is beneficial for all lifeforms on the Earth including humans. In this article, we will have a detailed look at the process of photosynthesis and also explore its importance.
In light of the fact that photosynthesis occurs largely in plant leaves, you should understand the structure of the leaf before you learn how the process works. These parts only serve as a protection of the inner cells of a leaf.
The Stomata refer to the microscopic holes found mainly on the lower epidermis. They are for reverse respiration — allow carbon dioxide in and let oxygen out. They help in the movement of nutrients and water around the plant. Photosynthesis occurs in the palisade mesophyll cells as they have chloroplasts.
The plant takes in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere through the stomata on its leaves. It is worth noting that there are some stomata on the stems as well. Water gets into the plant mainly through the roots and finds its way to the leaves, where photosynthesis occurs. Plant roots are specially designed to draw how to find out your gpa in high school from the ground and transport it to the plant leaves through the stem.
Chlorophyll, the green coloring matter of the leaf, traps the energy from sunlight as it shines on the leaf. It is worth noting that it is chlorophyll that gives the leaf its green color. The solar energy is used to break water down into hydrogen and oxygen. Then hydrogen is combined with carbon dioxide to make sugar, which is food for the plant. Oxygen is released as a byproduct through the stomata. Chemical reactions occur with the help of protons from the water molecules and electrons from the chlorophyll molecules to produce Adenosine Triphosphate ATP.
Namely, the higher the light intensity, temperature, carbon dioxide and chlorophyll concentration, the faster the rate at which photosynthesis occurs.
But there is an optimum rate. In the case of light intensity, photosynthesis rate is higher in red or blue light and very low in green light. Photosynthesis rate decreases with a decrease in water availability. Plants play an integral role in the continuity of life on the planet, all thanks to photosynthesis. They achieve that through the following:. In photosynthesis, plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen as a by-product.
Without the process of photosynthesis, it would be difficult to replenish all the oxygen being used in processes such as combustion and respiration. Moreover, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would rise to dangerous levels. Therefore, it suffices to say that photosynthesis helps to balance atmospheric gases. Green plants produce their own food through photosynthesis.
They are called producers. Conversely, animals and humans are consumers. They get all of their food from plants, either directly or indirectly. The remaining source is obtained from animals. And animals are part of the food chain, which normally starts with plants. Speaking of the food chainthe energy you get from the food you eat is also a product of photosynthesis, whether the food is from plants or animals. Did you know that your car runs on what was once light energy?
Or that your cooking gas is a product of photosynthesis? We get petroleum from plants that stored light energy in their system millions of years ago, thanks to photosynthesis, as well as animals that ate those plants.
The petroleum came into being due to intense pressure applied to the plants and animals over millions of years. Coal and natural gas were also produced in the same way. We use wood for a wide range of purposes, including construction and combustion. Paper is also a product of wood. Moreover, cotton and other natural fibers consist of cellulose produced virtually entirely by photosynthesizing plants.
And while wood comes from the sheep, the sheep gets its food from the plants. It is, therefore, suffice to say what are the uses of fig fruit we wear clothes courtesy of photosynthesis.
Most medicines are manufactured using various chemicals extracted from plants. And thousands of plants have been confirmed to have medicinal properties.
Aspirin, for example, is derived from salicylic acid. Salicylic acid comes from the back of the willow tree. Aspirin is a popular painkiller. It is also used to minimize blood clotting in heart patients. Much stronger analgesic drugs such as codeine and morphine are products of opium.
Opium is extracted from the seeds of the poppy plant. Tests are still ongoing to ascertain the medicinal status of thousands of other plants species, especially those found in the tropical rainforests. In the light of this, it is imperative that we protect the natural habitats of these plant species. Photosynthesis is the process used by plants, algae, and some bacteria to convert solar energy into chemical energy. Besides light energy, other photosynthesis ingredients are water and carbon dioxide.
It is a complex, enzyme-controlled process that is vital for the existence of all lifeforms on Planet Earth. Namely, all living things are dependent on plants, directly or indirectly. Sonia Madaan is a writer and what does black lives matter want editor of science education blog EarthEclipse.
Her passion for science education drove her to start EarthEclipse with the sole objective of finding and sharing fun and interesting science facts. She loves writing on topics related to space, environment, chemistry, biology, geology and geography.
When she is not writing, she loves watching sci-fi movies on Netflix. What is Photosynthesis? Atmospheric Gases 2. Food and Energy 3. Petroleum Products 4. Wood and Other Side Products 5. Medicinal Products. Related Posts
Photosynthesis is the process through which plants convert light energy from the sun to chemical energy. During the process of photosynthesis, plants capture light energy and use it to convert water, carbon dioxide, and minerals into oxygen and glucose. Lets have a look at the process of photosynthesis and also explore its importance. Apr 23, · Photosynthesis acts as an important factor that sustains life on Earth. Plants take in carbon dioxide, sunlight, water, and nutrients from the Earth and turn it into sugar and oxygen, which many species need to breathe. Image from Purves et al., Life: The Science of Biology, 4th Edition, by Sinauer Associates (tiktoklovehere.com) and WH Freeman (tiktoklovehere.com), used with permission. The action spectrum of photosynthesis is the relative effectiveness of different wavelengths of light at generating electrons.
Photosynthesis , the process by which green plants and certain other organisms transform light energy into chemical energy. During photosynthesis in green plants, light energy is captured and used to convert water , carbon dioxide , and minerals into oxygen and energy-rich organic compounds.
Photosynthesis is critical for the existence of the vast majority of life on Earth. It is the way in which virtually all energy in the biosphere becomes available to living things.
Additionally, almost all the oxygen in the atmosphere is due to the process of photosynthesis. This means that the reactants, six carbon dioxide molecules and six water molecules, are converted by light energy captured by chlorophyll implied by the arrow into a sugar molecule and six oxygen molecules, the products. The sugar is used by the organism, and the oxygen is released as a by-product. The ability to photosynthesize is found in both eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms.
The most well-known examples are plants, as all but a very few parasitic or mycoheterotrophic species contain chlorophyll and produce their own food. Algae are the other dominant group of eukaryotic photosynthetic organisms. All algae, which include massive kelps and microscopic diatoms , are important primary producers.
Cyanobacteria and certain sulfur bacteria are photosynthetic prokaryotes, in whom photosynthesis evolved. No animals are thought to be independently capable of photosynthesis, though the emerald green sea slug can temporarily incorporate algae chloroplasts in its body for food production. It would be impossible to overestimate the importance of photosynthesis in the maintenance of life on Earth.
If photosynthesis ceased, there would soon be little food or other organic matter on Earth. The only organisms able to exist under such conditions would be the chemosynthetic bacteria , which can utilize the chemical energy of certain inorganic compounds and thus are not dependent on the conversion of light energy.
Energy produced by photosynthesis carried out by plants millions of years ago is responsible for the fossil fuels i. There, protected from oxidation , these organic remains were slowly converted to fossil fuels.
These fuels not only provide much of the energy used in factories, homes, and transportation but also serve as the raw material for plastics and other synthetic products. Unfortunately, modern civilization is using up in a few centuries the excess of photosynthetic production accumulated over millions of years. Consequently, the carbon dioxide that has been removed from the air to make carbohydrates in photosynthesis over millions of years is being returned at an incredibly rapid rate.
Requirements for food, materials, and energy in a world where human population is rapidly growing have created a need to increase both the amount of photosynthesis and the efficiency of converting photosynthetic output into products useful to people.
One response to those needs—the so-called Green Revolution , begun in the midth century—achieved enormous improvements in agricultural yield through the use of chemical fertilizers , pest and plant- disease control, plant breeding , and mechanized tilling, harvesting, and crop processing. This effort limited severe famines to a few areas of the world despite rapid population growth , but it did not eliminate widespread malnutrition.
Moreover, beginning in the early s, the rate at which yields of major crops increased began to decline. This was especially true for rice in Asia. Rising costs associated with sustaining high rates of agricultural production, which required ever-increasing inputs of fertilizers and pesticides and constant development of new plant varieties, also became problematic for farmers in many countries.
A second agricultural revolution , based on plant genetic engineering , was forecast to lead to increases in plant productivity and thereby partially alleviate malnutrition.
However, such traits are inherently complex, and the process of making changes to crop plants through genetic engineering has turned out to be more complicated than anticipated. In the future such genetic engineering may result in improvements in the process of photosynthesis, but by the first decades of the 21st century, it had yet to demonstrate that it could dramatically increase crop yields.
Another intriguing area in the study of photosynthesis has been the discovery that certain animals are able to convert light energy into chemical energy.
The emerald green sea slug Elysia chlorotica , for example, acquires genes and chloroplasts from Vaucheria litorea , an alga it consumes, giving it a limited ability to produce chlorophyll.
When enough chloroplasts are assimilated , the slug may forgo the ingestion of food. The study of photosynthesis began in with observations made by the English clergyman and scientist Joseph Priestley. Priestley had burned a candle in a closed container until the air within the container could no longer support combustion.
He then placed a sprig of mint plant in the container and discovered that after several days the mint had produced some substance later recognized as oxygen that enabled the confined air to again support combustion.
He also demonstrated that this process required the presence of the green tissues of the plant. Gas-exchange experiments in showed that the gain in weight of a plant grown in a carefully weighed pot resulted from the uptake of carbon, which came entirely from absorbed carbon dioxide, and water taken up by plant roots; the balance is oxygen, released back to the atmosphere. Almost half a century passed before the concept of chemical energy had developed sufficiently to permit the discovery in that light energy from the sun is stored as chemical energy in products formed during photosynthesis.
In chemical terms, photosynthesis is a light-energized oxidation—reduction process. Oxidation refers to the removal of electrons from a molecule; reduction refers to the gain of electrons by a molecule. Most of the removed electrons and hydrogen ions ultimately are transferred to carbon dioxide CO 2 , which is reduced to organic products. Other electrons and hydrogen ions are used to reduce nitrate and sulfate to amino and sulfhydryl groups in amino acids , which are the building blocks of proteins.
In most green cells , carbohydrates —especially starch and the sugar sucrose —are the major direct organic products of photosynthesis. The overall reaction in which carbohydrates—represented by the general formula CH 2 O —are formed during plant photosynthesis can be indicated by the following equation:.
This equation is merely a summary statement, for the process of photosynthesis actually involves numerous reactions catalyzed by enzymes organic catalysts. During the first stage, the energy of light is absorbed and used to drive a series of electron transfers, resulting in the synthesis of ATP and the electron-donor-reduced nicotine adenine dinucleotide phosphate NADPH. This assimilation of inorganic carbon into organic compounds is called carbon fixation. During the 20th century, comparisons between photosynthetic processes in green plants and in certain photosynthetic sulfur bacteria provided important information about the photosynthetic mechanism.
Sulfur bacteria use hydrogen sulfide H 2 S as a source of hydrogen atoms and produce sulfur instead of oxygen during photosynthesis. The overall reaction is. In the s Dutch biologist Cornelis van Niel recognized that the utilization of carbon dioxide to form organic compounds was similar in the two types of photosynthetic organisms. Suggesting that differences existed in the light-dependent stage and in the nature of the compounds used as a source of hydrogen atoms, he proposed that hydrogen was transferred from hydrogen sulfide in bacteria or water in green plants to an unknown acceptor called A , which was reduced to H 2 A.
During the dark reactions, which are similar in both bacteria and green plants, the reduced acceptor H 2 A reacted with carbon dioxide CO 2 to form carbohydrate CH 2 O and to oxidize the unknown acceptor to A. This putative reaction can be represented as:. By chemists were using heavy isotopes to follow the reactions of photosynthesis.
Water marked with an isotope of oxygen 18 O was used in early experiments. Plants that photosynthesized in the presence of water containing H 2 18 O produced oxygen gas containing 18 O; those that photosynthesized in the presence of normal water produced normal oxygen gas. Videos Images. Additional Info. Print print Print. Table Of Contents. While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies.
Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. Facebook Twitter. Give Feedback External Websites. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article requires login. External Websites. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Coauthor of Photosynthesis of Carbon Compounds; See Article History.
Understand the importance and role of chloroplasts, chlorophyll, grana, thylakoid membranes, and stroma in photosynthesis. The location, importance, and mechanisms of photosynthesis. Study the roles of chloroplasts, chlorophyll, grana, thylakoid membranes, and stroma in photosynthesis.
Diagram of photosynthesis showing how water, light, and carbon dioxide are absorbed by a plant to produce oxygen, sugars, and more carbon dioxide. Top Questions. Read more below: General characteristics: Overall reaction of photosynthesis. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content.
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