(IGP) GS Paper 1 - General Science - "Photosynthesis"

Integrated Guidance Programme of General Studies for IAS (Pre) - 2013

Subject - General Science
Chapter : Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis Process

Photosynthesis is the process by which plants, some bacteria, and some protistans use the energy from sunlight to produce sugar, which cellular respiration converts into ATP, the “fuel” used by all living things. The conversion of unusable sunlight energy (solar energy) into usable chemical energy, is associated with the actions of the green pigment chlorophyll. Most of the time, the photosynthetic process uses water and releases the oxygen.

Stages of Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis is a two stage process. The first process is the Light Dependent Process (Light Reactions), requires the direct energy of light to make energy carrier molecules that are used in the second process. The Light Independent Process (or Dark Reactions) occurs when the products of the Light Reaction are used to form C-C covalent bonds of carbohydrates. The Dark Reactions can usually occur in the dark, if the energy carriers from the light process are present. Recent evidence suggests that a major enzyme of the Dark Reaction is indirectly stimulated by light, thus the term Dark Reaction is somewhat of a misnomer. The Light Reactions occur in the grana and the Dark Reactions take place in the stroma of the chloroplasts.

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Structure of leaf

  • Plants are the only photosynthetic organisms to have leaves (and not all plants have leaves). A leaf may be viewed as a solar collector crammed full of photosynthetic cells.

  • The raw materials of photosynthesis, water and carbon dioxide, enter the cells of the leaf, and the products of photosynthesis, sugar and oxygen, leave the leaf.

  • Water enters the root and is transported up to the leaves through specialized plant cells known as xylem.

Chlorophyll and Accessory Pigments

  • A pigment is any substance that absorbs light. The color of the pigment comes from the wavelengths of light reflected (in other words, those not absorbed).

  • Chlorophyll, the green pigment common to all photosynthetic cells, absorbs all wavelengths of visible light except green, which it reflects to be detected by our eyes.

  • Black pigments absorb all of the wavelengths that strike them.

  • White pigments/lighter colors reflect all or almost all of the energy striking them. Pigments have their own characteristic absorption spectra, the absorption pattern of a given pigment.

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