Biology » Photosynthesis » The Light-Dependent Reactions of Photosynthesis

The Light-Dependent Reactions of Photosynthesis

How can light be used to make food? When a person turns on a lamp, electrical energy becomes light energy. Like all other forms of kinetic energy, light can travel, change form, and be harnessed to do work.

In the case of photosynthesis, light energy is converted into chemical energy, which photoautotrophs use to build carbohydrate molecules (see the figure below). However, autotrophs only use a few specific components of sunlight.

A photo shows the silhouette of a grassy plant against the sun at sunset.

Photoautotrophs can capture light energy from the sun, converting it into the chemical energy used to build food molecules. (credit: Gerry Atwell)

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