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What is the purpose of photosynthesis?

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Quick Answer

Photosynthesis is a process that allows plants to harvest energy in sunlight and store it chemically, by producing sugars. Sugars hold energy in their molecular bonds; when the plant breaks down these bonds, energy is released that the organism can then use. Although green plants are the most famous photosynthesizing organisms, some bacteria, algae and protists carry out the process as well.

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What is the purpose of photosynthesis?
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In plants, photosynthesis takes place in small organelles found in some of the plant’s cells, called chloroplasts. Chloroplasts are most numerous in the cells that make up the plant’s leaves, although the stems and sepals may also contain small numbers of the organelles. Chloroplasts combine carbon dioxide and water with sunlight to produce the storage sugars. In the process, the plants produce oxygen and release a small amount of the water they absorbed.

Photosynthesis enables most aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems to persist. All of the planet’s ecosystems require an influx of energy. While a few species of bacteria may harvest the energy of chemical bonds and some deep-sea organisms obtain energy from thermal gradients found around geothermal vents, green plants capture sunlight and use it as an energy source. Through the synthesis of sugars, plants become food for the animals. Accordingly, scientists often refer to plants as producers, while animals are consumers.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is an explanation of photosynthesis for kids?

    A:

    Photosynthesis is the process that plants use to convert the energy in sunlight into food that they use for energy. In order to carry out photosynthesis, plants need not only sunlight but also water and carbon dioxide. The food they make is called glucose, which is a simple sugar.

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  • Q:

    How are photosynthesis and chemosynthesis similar?

    A:

    Photosynthesis and chemosynthesis are similar in that they both provide for the process by which plants produce food and fuel for growth. However, they differ in terms of how they provide for this process. Photosynthesis accomplishes this process through sunlight, while chemosynthesis accomplishes it through chemical energy.

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  • Q:

    What is photosynthesis?

    A:

    Photosynthesis is the process by which green plants manufacture their own food. The process takes place in small structures within the plant’s cells called chloroplasts. Photosynthesis evolved about 3 billion years ago, yet it remains the most important method for harvesting the sun’s energy on the planet.

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  • Q:

    What do photosynthesis and respiration have in common?

    A:

    Photosynthesis and respiration are complementary processes that both involve carbon dioxide, water, glucose and oxygen, and this is what they have in common. Essentially, they are the same reactions, although the reactions occur in reverse. Photosynthesis converts water and carbon dioxide into glucose and oxygen, while respiration converts glucose and oxygen into carbon dioxide and water.

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