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Photosynthesis: The Biochemistry Behind How Plants Make Their Food

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 Biology   |   Chemistry   |   Science
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Plants, unlike most living things, produce their own food through a process called photosynthesis. Photosynthesis means 'making using light'. Plants use the energy from the sunlight to make food. The food matter comes from carbon dioxide present in the air. These processes take place in a special compartment of a plant cell called the chloroplast.
Photosynthesis takes place in two steps, that can happen simultaneously in a plant cell. The first is light-dependent reactions which take place in structures called thylakoid present inside the chloroplast. In these reactions, pigments such as chlorophyll absorb light. Through a series of enzymatic reactions, the plant produces ATP, its energy currency and NADPH, a reducing molecule required to build the food.
The second step is light-independent reactions. Here, the carbon dioxide taken into the cell is converted into food such as sugars which can further be converted into proteins, fats, or nucleic acids. Plants perform these reactions in the stroma of the chloroplast.
The process of photosynthesis powers life. It converts a molecule that isn't food, carbon dioxide, into something we can derive energy from, sugars. In the process, oxygen is given out creating a favorable environment for us to live in. This is a feat of engineering humans could only dream of designing.



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References:
Berg, J. M., Tymoczko, J. L., Stryer, L., Berg, J. M., Tymoczko, J. L., & Stryer, L. (2015). Biochemistry (8th ed.). W H Freeman.
Hershey, D. R. (1991). Digging deeper into helmonts famous willow tree experiment. The American Biology Teacher, 53(8), 458460. JSTOR. https://doi.org/10.2307/4449369
Lehninger, A. L., Nelson, D. L., & Cox, M. M. (2013). Lehninger principles of biochemistry (6th ed). W.H. Freeman.
Renger, G. (2011). Light-induced oxidative water splitting in photosynthesis: Energetics, kinetics, and mechanism. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology, 104(1), 3543. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2011.01.023


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