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The Chemistry of

Photosynthesis
Learner’s Outcomes
• Describe the full process of photosynthesis with
reference to the full equation for photosynthesis.
• Describe the light-dependent reaction of photosynthesis
as involving only water and light, and producing oxygen
gas and the energy molecules ATP and NADPH (in
simple terms).
• Describe the light-independent reaction of
photosynthesis as involving the products of the light-
dependent reaction (ATP and NADPH) converting
carbon dioxide to glucose (in simple terms).
Learner’s Outcome
• Explain that ATP is an energy carrier in cells
because it has high-energy phosphate bonds that
release energy when broken.
• Show that the rate of photosynthesis is dependent
on various factors
• Explain the effect of changes in temperature, light
intensity, wavelength, carbon dioxide and oxygen
concentration on the rate of photosynthesis.
Learner’s Outcomes
• Understand the concept of limiting factors in the
living system and how it effects reactions.
• Interpret graphs of rate of photosynthesis and
plant growth.
• Explain briefly how triose phosphates or glucose
can be converted to provide almost all the
nutrients required by the plant.
• Be able to ‘compare and contrast ‘ between
Photosynthesis and Respiration.
Where does
photosynthesis
happen?
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chlorophyll ls presenL ln Lhe Lhylakold membrane
The chloroplast is the main site for photosynthesis
Thylakoids - where light reaction of
photosynthesis occurs
Stroma - where light independent
reaction occurs
139
8ed and blue llghL absorbed by chlorophyll
Photosynthesis occurs in 2 stages
Light dependent stage
Light independent stage
Light dependent reaction
! 12 H2O + 12NADP + 18ADP + 18Pi + light and
chlorophyll
+
6 O2 + 12 NADPH + 18 ATP
Light reaction
! Occurs in thylakoids
! Chlorophyll molecule captures light energy
! Excited electron causes water to split into
hydrogen and oxygen
! High energy molecules - ATP and NADPH
produced
P700
P680
Photon hits, excited
electrons picked up by
reaction center
PS II splits water into ! O2
and 2 electrons. These
electrons replaces those
going to PSI.
ATP produced as protons
move thru ATP synthetase
complexes
Meanwhile, photons hit
P700 complex and excited
electrons are picked up by
ETC of PSI.
PSI ETC produces NADPH
and H+
What is ATP?
• Adenosine Triphosphate
• High energy molecule
• Energy found in the bonds
between the phosphate ions
and adenosine
• Bond broken = energy
released
• Bond formed = energy
required
2
0
The Calvin Cycle (Dark Reactions)
! A.k.a light-independent reactions
! Occurs in stroma.
! 12NADPH + 18ATP + 6CO
2
=> Glucose +
12NADP
+
+ 18ADP + 18P
i
+

O
2
! Fixes CO
2
to produce glucose.
Factors Affecting Photosynthesis
! Carbon dioxide concentration
! Water
! Light intensity
! Chlorophyll levels
Graph of Rate of Photosynthesis against Light
Intensity
! As light intensity increases, rate
of photosynthesis increases.
! There is a limit to the maximum
rate (saturation point).
! At the saturation point, the rate
of photosynthesis cannot
increase due to the presence of
a limiting factor.
! Only by increasing the limiting
factor can the rate increase.
Rate of
Photosynthesis
Light Intensity
Observe how a change in the CO
2
concentration
affects the graphs
Practice Time!
! Draw a graph of rate of photosynthesis against
light intensity.
! Label this graph as one showing the graph at
temperature T.
! Now draw on the same axes another graph, but
this time at temperature T+10.
Photosynthesis and Temperature
! Did it look like this?
! Note the circled regions of A and B.
! Do you know the significance of the trends
shown at A and B?
Factors affecting
photosynthesis
Uses of Glucose
• Triose phosphates and glucose are used as a material to
build most other biomolecules (these are products from
photosynthesis)
• Disaccharides
• Cellulose
• Starch
• Amino acids
• Lipids