Photosynthesis. I did my best to illustrate the first two levels on the "big picture" photosynthesis page which you probably have looked at already.

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1 Photosynthesis Like most "life processes", photosynthesis can be studied at various levels --- the global level (how it's important to ecosystems), the plant part level (how leaves are organized for the process), and/or the cellular level (the chemical occuring in the chloroplasts of the plant cells in the leaves of the plant). I did my best to illustrate the first two levels on the "big picture" photosynthesis page which you probably have looked at already. OK, let's get to some detailed details. The inside of a chloroplast (seen through an electron microscope). Photosynthesis occurs in organelles called CHLOROPLASTS. #1 More specifically, half of the photosynthesis chemistry stuff occurs in a liquid inside the chloropasts called STROMA, & the other half of photosynthesis occurs in stacks of membranes inside the chloroplast called GRANA. I sloppily outlined the chloroplast in green. Photosynthesis requires the green pigment CHLOROPHYLL, which absorbs sunlight. #2 Turns out there are 2 types of chlorophyll, chlorophyll a & chlorophyll b. They are slightly different chemically, but similar in that they like to absorb blue, violet, orange, & red wavelengths of light, & tend to REFLECT (not absorb) yellow & green wavelengths. So what? Well, plants can't use light that they reflect. So, since plants reflect yellows & greens, that cannot be used for photosynthesis. Translation? Plants under yellow & green light will carry out photosynthesis at a lower rate than the same type of plant under other colors (blue, violet, red).

2 #3 The chemical reaction of photosynthesis (as I hinted at in #1) occur in two phases. Remember the parts of a chloroplast? Brain Refreshe r Phase #1 is called "photolysis" or the "photochemical " or (if you don't like those two names) the "light ". These (whatever you call them) require light. Phase #2 is called "carbon fixation" or the "dark ". These do not require light. The light occur in the grana, which contain the chlorophyll for absorbing light. The dark occur in the stroma. (see pic above) Before we get into more details, please recall that the overall chemical equation for photosynthsis is the following: 6CO H 2 O + light ---> C 6 H 12 O 6 + 6O 2 + 6H 2 O or, in words: carbon dioixde + water + light ---> glucose + oxygen + water ed details about the light. Of the substances in the overall equation, the light use light & water, & produce the oxygen "waste product". the light #4 Remember that name "photolysis"? That translates as light (photo-) splits (-lysis). Turns out that the light is used to split the water molecule, which produces H+ & O- ions. The oxygen is released from the plant into the air. Footnote to #4 ATP & NADPH 2 are molecules. They will be used up during the dark, as will the H+ ions. Upon close inspection of the photosynthesis equation, 6CO H 2 O + light ---> C 6 H 12 O 6 + 6O 2 + 6H 2 O one may notice that two reactants (CO 2 & H 2 O) contain oxygen. So, the skeptical folks out there would ask, "How do you know that the oxygen we breathe comes from the water molecule that is

3 split in the light & NOT from the CO 2?" Don't be afraid of the dark..., a.k.a. "carbon fixation". The answer: Scientists have used an isotope of oxygen called O-18 to follow oxygen atoms through the chemical maze of photosynthesis. When they tagged the "O" of the CO 2 none of the oxygen being released from the plant contained O-18. But when they tagged the "O" in the H 2 O, all of the oxygen being produced contained O-18. So the O we breathe originates from water molecules used by the plant during photosynthesis. #5 These use the of the ATP & NADPH 2 (produced in the light ) to combine the H+ (also produced in the light ) with CO 2. Now the end product we're after here is glucose. To build glucose we need C, H, & O, which we have in our H+ & CO 2. Nifty, huh? So there's a bunch of from which & a 3-carbon compound called PGAL is produced. Think of PGAL as 1/2 of a glucose. Then, 2 PGAL's are combined & WA-LA! A glucose is born! The overall equation (again) & what happens to what during this fun chemical reaction... Simple Summary Simple, right?

4 Hints, clues & stuff to remember: The names for the 1st phase (light, photochemical, photolysis) all contain clues that light is involved. So remember the names, & then ask yourself, "Self, how is light involved?" And then answer yourself, "The in light is use to split water". The only things you can get by splitting water (H 2 O) is hydrogen & oxygen. The oxygen exits (is released from the plant). The hydrogen is used in the dark. The dark, or carbon fixation, must involve carbon (duh). The reactant with the carbon is CO 2. The CO 2 is combined with the hydrogen left over from the water split in the light. First they form PGAL (a 3-C compound), & then 2 of those PGAL's are converted to our favorite 6-C compound... glucose (C 6 H 12 O 6 ). Some water molecules are produced as a waste product during this step. The dark are powerd by compounds formed during the light, namely ATP & NADPH 2. P.S. PGAL stands for phosphoglyceraldehyde. Review & Practice Questions 1. Which equation summarizes photosynthesis? a) water + starch ---> glucose + glucose + glucose b) water + carbon dioxide ---> oxygen + glucose + water c) glucose + oxygen ---> water + carbon dioxide + ATP d) glucose + glucose ---> maltose + water 6. In what part of photosynthesis would the tracer carbon-14 be used to study the path of carbon through the chemical? a) the absorption of light by chlorophyll b) the dark c) photolysis d) the light 2. In what organelle does photosynthesis occur? a) the nucleus b) chloroplasts c) the vacuole d) the cell wall 3. Four identical plants are grown under different colored light bulbs. Under which color will the release of oxygen gas be slowest? a) blue b) green c) orange d) red 7. Atmospheric oxygen that is inhaled by animals comes from: a) carbon dioxide molecules split during the light b) carbon dioxide split during the dark c) water molecules split during the light d) water molecules split during the dark

5 4. Which of the following would have the smallest effect on the rate of photosynthesis in a green plant? a) carbon dioxide concentration b) light intensity c) oxygen concentration d) water available 5. Which of the following is produced during photosynthesis? a) carbon dioxide b) PGAL c) DNA d) lactic acid 8. What change occurs during photosynthesis? a) solar is converted to chemical b) kinetic is converted to chemical c) chemical is converted to radiant d) water is converted to chemical For questions #9-18 choose the best description from the list. A - photochemical only B - carbon fixation only C - both the photochemical & carbon fixation D - neither the photochemical & carbon fixation 9. Water molecules are split. 10. Carbon dioxide is used. 11. PGAL is formed. 12. Light is absorbed by chlorophyll. 13. The occur in the stroma of the chloroplast. 14. The occur in the grana of the chloroplast. 15. Glucose is formed. 16. Enzymes are present. 17. Oxygen is released. 18. Oxygen gas is used.

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