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Photosynthesis and Thermodynamics

Be certain to describe three or more ways in which the plant cell and the solar cell are similar to each other, as well as three or more ways in which they are different from each other. In addition, please explain how the laws of thermodynamics apply to each system.

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Basic Postulates:
1) Plant function is understood on the basis of chemistry and physics.
2) Four of the five kingdoms are studied by plant physiologists; mostly gymnosperms and angiosperms (plantae).
3) The cell is the fundamental unit of life (cell theory):
a. All living things are composed from/of cells.
b. Life doesn't exist in units smaller than cells.
c. Biogenesis - Cells arise from pre-existing cells.
4) Eukaryotic cells contain membrane-bound organelles.
5) Cells are characterized by macromolecules (starch, cellulose).
6) Cells have proteins and nucleic acids (DNA, RNA).
7) In multicellular organisms, cells are organized into tissues and organs; different cells may have different structures and functions.
8) Living organisms are self-generating structures.
9) Organisms grow and develop within environments and interact.
10) Structure and function are inter-dependent.

Source: http://www.uic.edu/classes/bios/bios100/labs/plantanatomy.htm

Plant Cells
1) Parenchyma - thin cell wall and sometimes isodiametric, living. Found in pith, cortex, mesophyll, and other tissues.
2) Cell Wall - many protistans and most fungal and plant cells are surrounded by a cell wall
? Primary Wall (1° wall) - usually thin (1-3 nm), 9-25% cellulose. Microfibrils are constructed and long unbranched cellulose molecules bound together in cylindrical fibers. 1° wall begins to form between cells that are completing cell division; a cell plate forms where a new call wall will divide the 2 daughter cells. Cellulose microfibrils are embedded in a matrix of other materials, principle among them the hemicelluloses, which form a branching, molecular network filled with water. A typical primary wall may contain 25-50% hemicelluloses. Other materials of the matrix are pectic substances (calcium pectate) - a cementing substance - which makes up 10-35% of 1° wall. 1° wall also contains about 10% protein, which plays an important role in cell growth.

? Secondary Cell Wall (2° wall or SCW) - much thicker than 1° wall, especially those in xylem tissues that, when mature, provide support for plant or will conduct fluid under tension; the protoplast secretes a secondary wall after the cell has ...

Solution Summary

The solution discusses the process of photosynthesis, plant cells, and solar cells. Relates thermodynamics to photosynthesis.