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Production of Radioactive Sugars and Radioactive Oxygen Gas

Suppose an experiement is performed which included Plant I supplied with normal carbon dioxide but with water that contains radioactive oxygen atoms. Plant II is supplied with normal water but with carbon dioxide that contains radioactive oxygen atoms. Each plant is allow to perform photosynthesis and the oxygen gas and sugars produced are tested for radioactivity.

Which plant would you expect to produce radioactive sugars and which plant would you expect to produce radioactive oxygen gas? Why?

Solution Preview

Plants convert carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into sugars (glucose, predominantly) using light energy from the sun. Water is utilized by the plants as the source of "reducing power" and the source of electrons for the electron transport chain. Remember, water undergoes photolysis ("water-splitting") from the energy in sunlight. This is what begins photosynthesis -- when plants use the light energy from the sun to split a ...

Solution Summary

The solution explains the process by which plans convert carbon dioxide into sugars and oxygen gas, and when photosynthesis occurs.

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