Q:

Why is sunlight needed for photosynthesis?

A:

Quick Answer

Sunlight is needed for photosynthesis because the solar energy is what is converted to chemical energy by the plant's chloroplasts. This energy is necessary for the production of glucose, which provides usable energy for the plant.

  Know More
Why is sunlight needed for photosynthesis?
Credit: Joao Zanetti CC-BY 2.0

Full Answer

The chloroplasts contain the green pigment chlorophyll, which absorbs the sun's light. Two other required ingredients for photosynthesis are carbon dioxide and water. The combination of these three substances fuels the process of photosynthesis, which produces glucose, oxygen and water. Photosynthesis occurs primarily in the leaves of the plants, which contain the highest concentration of chloroplasts. Tiny pores, or stomata, are also located on the plant's leaves and absorb carbon dioxide from the surrounding air.

Protists, bacteria and blue-green algae are other organisms that photosynthesize for nourishment. Additionally, many organisms form symbiotic bonds with photosynthetic organisms, most commonly corals, sea anemones and sponges. Some mollusks even store chloroplasts in their bodies so that they can survive on sunlight alone for several months. In 2010, the Oriental hornet was the first animal discovered to use photosynthesis. The wasp converts sunlight into electrical energy. The efficiency of the conversion from sunlight into chemical energy is approximately 3 to 6 percent, with the unconverted energy being released as heat. Globally, it is estimated that photosynthesis captures about 130 terawatts of energy each year, which is six times larger than human energy consumption as of 2014.

Learn more about Botany

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How does photosynthesis occur?

    A:

    Photosynthesis occurs when green plants harness the energy in sunlight and convert it to chemical energy in the form of sugars. Photosynthesis occurs in all green plants and a few other, simple organisms, such as algae and some bacteria. Photosynthetic organisms typically feature small structures called chloroplasts in their cells.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the role of chlorophyll in photosynthesis?

    A:

    Chlorophyll is a pigment found in the chloroplasts of plants that absorbs the wavelengths of light required to convert water and carbon dioxide into chemical energy during photosynthesis. Molecules of chlorophyll are arranged around the photosystems embedded in the chloroplasts' thylakoid membranes. There can be several hundred chlorophyll molecules per photosystem.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    When does photosynthesis occur?

    A:

    Photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert the sun's energy to glucose, takes place during daylight hours when the plant's leaves are exposed to sunlight. This process only occurs in green plants and in some protist species. Carbon dioxide and water must also be present in order for photosynthesis to occur.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How does chemosynthesis differ from photosynthesis?

    A:

    Chemosynthesis utilizes energy from inorganic chemical reactions to create sugars, while photosynthesis uses sunlight for the same purpose. Chemosynthesis is common in organisms in deep-ocean habitats where sunlight is not present.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore