What is photosynthesis?

Smile for the photo and say Cheese! Wait...what do you mean this isn't Photography?  Oh yeah...this is Photosynthesis! While it's a lot different than getting your picture taken, both Photography and Photosynthesis involve light. In the case of Photosynthesis, it involves plants taking in sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water to fuel their activity, and then giving off oxygen as a waste product! Most plants and algae, as well as some bacteria, gain their energy through photosynthesis, and it's one of the most important reasons why plant and tree lives matter - Photosynthesis is responsible for the majority of oxygen we have on Earth, that we humans and almost all other lifeforms need to survive!


Many species perform Photosynthesis in different ways, but the process all has some similarities...

  •  The energy from light is absorbed with proteins containing chlorophyll.
  • Carbon Dioxide and Water also are absorbed, and work their way to the leaf where the light is absorbed.
  • Oxygen releases into the atmosphere as a byproduct of the process.
  • The Hydrogen and Carbon Dioxide create glucose that fuels the plant.


Chlorophyll is one of the most important aspects of the plant during photosynthesis - this is the green pigment in plants that absorbs the light and allows them to get this energy! Chlorophyll is contained inside these special compartments known as Chloroplasts, and this is where the magic of photosynthesis takes place. The process of photosynthesis can also be broken down into 2 main parts - Light Dependent Reactions where that light is absorbed and converted to energy, and then the Calvin Cycle, where the products of these light dependent reactions have further chemical processes and the end products are created. The biggest part about Photosynthesis though, is that the end products are food for the plant (which eventually becomes food for animals!) and then oxygen, two very important things we need for all life on Earth!

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