Q:

How do plants produce oxygen during photosynthesis?

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Quick Answer

During photosynthesis, plants take in carbon dioxide and water, disassemble the molecules and convert them into sugar and oxygen. The water molecules are split into hydrogen and oxygen, and the hydrogen joins carbon dioxide to create sugars. The excess oxygen is released into the atmosphere during the respiration cycle.

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Full Answer

Inside the chloroplasts of green plants are pairs of structures called grana and stroma. When light strikes chlorophyll, the energy is captured and sent to the grana, where it is used to split water molecules. The remainder of the energy flows to the stroma, where it creates sugar molecules. These carbohydrates are carried to the plant's cells, while the excess oxygen and water vapor byproducts are purged from the plant's system.

Plants produce an enormous amount of oxygen, and scientists believe that the evolution of plants is what gave Earth the oxygen in its atmosphere in the first place. In addition, many species of plants filter not only carbon dioxide, but harmful molecules like benzene, toluene and formaldehyde from the air. The right mix of houseplants could allow a human being to survive in a completely sealed environment, or help improve the quality of air and reduce pollutants in a normal household.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How are oxygen and carbon cycled between plants and animals?

    A:

    Plants take in carbon dioxide and expel oxygen through photosynthesis, while animals breathe in oxygen and expel the carbon dioxide. Known as the oxygen cycle, this mirrored use of carbon dioxide and oxygen does have a few exceptions.

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  • Q:

    How does yeast metabolize sugar?

    A:

    Yeast metabolizes sugar by splitting the six-carbon sugars into two molecules of pyruvate, then splitting the pyruvate molecules by removing carbon dioxide from them, and finally adding hydrogen ions to create ethanol molecules. This process is known as fermentation, and it is performed in the absence of oxygen.

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  • Q:

    What is a word equation for photosynthesis?

    A:

    A simple word equation that can be used to describe the process of photosynthesis is carbon dioxide + water —> glucose + oxygen + water. A balanced chemical equation for the process can be written as 6CO2 + 6H2O —> C6H12O6 + 6O2. Overall, photosynthesis uses light energy to convert carbon dioxide into a carbohydrate.

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  • Q:

    What are the products of the aerobic phase of respiration?

    A:

    The products of aerobic cellular respiration include water, carbon dioxide, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and two different energy carrying molecules: NADH and FADH2. The process is ultimately intended to produce ATP — a molecule that holds the energy used to power the cell's various functions.

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