Understanding the Photosynthesis Process
Photosynthesis, a chemical process, is part of a larger process known as plant metabolism. This process occurs in sunlight, at which point plants create stores of energy and their own food. This takes place in the plant cells that contain chlorophyll, the pigment within plant leaves that give them their green color. The chlorophyll absorbs light energy and uses it to create sugars (carbohydrates) from water (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2). Oxygen is created by this chemical reaction and is then released into the atmosphere.
This chemical reaction is often described as: Water + Carbon Dioxide + Sunlight = Oxygen + Glucose
6H2O + 6CO2 + Sunlight -----> 6O2 + C6H12O6
The carbohydrates that photosynthesis produces are utilized by the plant as immediate energy for things such as, reproduction, growth, and nutrient absorption. They also take on the role of energy reserves stored as starch to help the plant survive severe conditions, such as droughts or extreme winters. Carbohydrates are also utilized to help the formation of the plants components such as, plant tissues that are necessary to grow leaves, flowers, roots, wood, roots, and other components.
Several different factors influence the process of photosynthesis including:
Carbon Dioxide: The process of photosynthesis is stimulated by high concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Water Availability: Photosynthesis is slowed down when transpiration is reduced. In order to absorb carbon dioxide, plants must transpire. When water is scarce, transpiration is reduced, resulting in photosynthesis being slowed down.
Temperature: Photosynthesis' optimum temperature is between about 20 degrees Celsius and 35 degrees Celsius. The plants physiology will slow down when the temperature dips below zero degrees Celsius, resulting in photosynthesis stopping.
Sunlight: Chlorophyll is more effective as light's intensity increases, which in turn enhances the photosynthesis process.