Photosynthesis | Summary and Q&A

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February 2, 2010
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Khan Academy
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Photosynthesis

TL;DR

Photosynthesis is the process that plants, bacteria, and algae use to convert carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight into carbohydrates and oxygen, providing fuel and oxygen for life on Earth.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What is photosynthesis?

Photosynthesis is the process by which plants, bacteria, and algae convert carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight into carbohydrates and oxygen through a series of chemical reactions.

Q: Why is photosynthesis important for life on Earth?

Photosynthesis provides the necessary carbohydrates and oxygen for fueling the bodies of living organisms and enabling cellular respiration, which is essential for energy production.

Q: What are the key components of photosynthesis?

The key components of photosynthesis are carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight. These react in the presence of chlorophyll, a pigment found in plants, to produce carbohydrates and oxygen.

Q: How is the process of photosynthesis divided?

Photosynthesis is divided into two stages: the light-dependent reactions, which require sunlight and produce ATP and NADPH, and the light-independent reactions (Calvin Cycle), which use ATP and NADPH to convert carbon dioxide into carbohydrates.

Q: Why are the light reactions called "light-dependent"?

The light reactions require sunlight (photons) as an energy source to excite electrons in chlorophyll, enabling the production of ATP and NADPH.

Q: What is the purpose of ATP and NADPH in photosynthesis?

ATP and NADPH are energy-rich molecules produced during the light reactions of photosynthesis. They provide the energy and reducing power necessary for the dark reactions (Calvin Cycle) to convert carbon dioxide into carbohydrates.

Q: How is oxygen produced during photosynthesis?

During photosynthesis, water molecules are split, releasing oxygen as a byproduct. This oxygen is then released into the atmosphere as a vital component for respiration in living organisms.

Q: What is the significance of the Calvin Cycle in photosynthesis?

The Calvin Cycle, or the light-independent reactions, uses ATP, NADPH, and carbon dioxide to produce carbohydrates that serve as the building blocks for various forms of life, including glucose.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Photosynthesis is the process plants use to convert carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight into sugars and oxygen.

  • Carbohydrates produced through photosynthesis are essential for fueling the bodies of living organisms.

  • Oxygen produced during photosynthesis is vital for organisms' respiration and energy production.

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