Biology » Photosynthesis » Using Light Energy to Make Organic Molecules

Using Light Energy to Make Organic Molecules Summary

Summary

Using the energy carriers formed in the first steps of photosynthesis, the light-independent reactions, or the Calvin cycle, take in CO2 from the environment. An enzyme, RuBisCO, catalyzes a reaction with CO2 and another molecule, RuBP.

After three cycles, a three-carbon molecule of G3P leaves the cycle to become part of a carbohydrate molecule. The remaining G3P molecules stay in the cycle to be regenerated into RuBP, which is then ready to react with more CO2.

Photosynthesis forms an energy cycle with the process of cellular respiration. Plants need both photosynthesis and respiration for their ability to function in both the light and dark, and to be able to interconvert essential metabolites. Therefore, plants contain both chloroplasts and mitochondria.

Glossary

Calvin cycle

light-independent reactions of photosynthesis that convert carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into carbohydrates using the energy and reducing power of ATP and NADPH

carbon fixation

process of converting inorganic CO2 gas into organic compounds

reduction

gain of electron(s) by an atom or molecule

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