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What percentage of solar energy is converted to chemical energy in photosynthesis?

a) Photosynthesis is estimated to produce 330.0 g (dry weight) of plant matter per square meter, 50% of which is carbon. Calculate the total number of grams of carbon "fixed" each year by 1000 square meters.

b) The photosynthetic reaction can be represented as: 6CO2 + 6H2O -> C6H12O6 + 6O2. Of the glucose produced, 20.0% is used by the plant to fuel respiration; the rest is converted to plant matter. Calculate the total moles of glucose produced annually in our reference 1000 square meter area.

c) Each mole of glucose produced represents the absorption of 2803 kJ of solar energy. If the average energy available from the sunlight over an eight-month period is 1.3 kJ/cm2 per day, what percentage of the incident solar energy is converted to chemical energy in our 1000 square meter area?

Solution Preview

a) Photosynthesis is estimated to produce 330.0 g (dry weight) of plant matter per square meter, 50% of which is carbon. Calculate the total number of grams of carbon "fixed" each year by 1000 square meters.
This part is not that bad. We have production of 330.0 g (dry weight) plant matter per square meter multiplied by 1000 square meters gives 330,000 grams of dry plant matter. Fifty percent of this is carbon so the mass is 50% of the dry weight of the plant matter and is 165,000 grams.

b) The photosynthetic reaction can be represented as:
6CO2 + 6H2O -> C6H12O6 + 6O2
Of the glucose produced, 20.0% is used by the plant to fuel respiration; the rest is converted to plant matter. Calculate the total moles of glucose produced ...

Solution Summary

Short explanations and/or explained equations are provided in response to each question in 392 words.

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