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    Photosynthesis is a process utilized by plant organisms to produce carbohydrates, in the form of sugars and starches, by harnessing energy from the sun and combining this with CO2 molecules. Photosynthesis takes place in chloroplast organelles which are present in the mesophyll tissue of plant leaves. Furthermore, photosynthesis depends on the presence of chlorophyll, a green pigment, which is found in the thylakoid cells of the chloroplast. 

    Figure 1. This figure is a cross-section of a leaf and shows the main components of the leaf structure. The palisade layer is composed of palisade cells which are part of the mesophyll tissue found in leaves. The mesophyll of leaves is comprised of the palisade and spongy cell layers. This image has been taken from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Leaf_Tissue_Structure.svg.

    The equation for photosynthesis is as follows: 

    6CO2 + 12H2O + light energy  ----->  C6H12O6 + 6O2


    CO2 = carbon dioxide

    H20 = water

    C6H12O6 = glucose

    O2 = oxygen

    Photosynthesis requires a few major photosynthetic compounds in order to produce glucose. As already mentioned, chlorophyll, a green pigment, is required to absorb energy from the sun. Chlorophyll contains a porphyrin ring structure with a magnesium ion at its center. Furthermore, an enzyme called Rubisco is essential to this process. Rubisco is required for carbon fixation during the Calvin cycle, creating a 6-carbon compound which gets broken down into two smaller three carbon compounds.

    Overall, photosynthesis involves two components: the light cycle and the dark cycle. CO2 is needed for the dark cycle and is acquired through a plant's stomata, which is a pore on the epidermis of leaves regulating gas exchange. However, the intake of COthrough the stomata represents a trade-off with the loss of water.  

    The end objective of photosynthesis is to produce sugars for plants to use as a food source. Photosynthesis is a rather complex process and also varies between different types of plants, such as between C3, C4 and CAM plants.  


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    BrainMass Categories within Photosynthesis

    Light Reactions

    Solutions: 2

    The light reaction is a process requiring the input of carbon dioxide, water and light, in order to produce the reactants required for the dark reaction, the second stage of photosynthesis.

    Dark Reactions

    Solutions: 0

    The dark reaction, also called the Calvin cycle as that is the actual mechanism of this reaction, is the second and final phase of photosynthesis.

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