A2 Biology

Module 2804: Central Concepts

5.4.2 Photosynthesis
(a) explain that energy transferred as light is used during photosynthesis to produce complex organic molecules, and that the process of respiration allows this energy to be transferred through chemical reactions so that it can be used by living organisms. Plants are photoautotrophs using photosynthesis to fix (trap) CO2 and convert it into carbohydrate. This carbohydrate fuels the food chains in the ecosystem • 6CO2 + 6 H 2O Light → C6 H12O6 + 6O2   • Two sets of reactions: Light dependent: absorbs light, splits water, produces O2 as waste, makes ATP and reduced NADP. (thylakoids) Light independent: does not need light. Uses ATP and reduced NADP from light dependent reactions to fix CO2 into carbohydrate. (stroma) (b) describe the photoactivation of chlorophyll resulting in the splitting of water molecules and in the transfer of energy to ATP and reduced NADP. (Cyclic and non-cyclic photophosphorylation should be described, but no biochemical detail is required.)


Structure of Photosystems on thylakoids/grana: • Chlorophyll pigments arranged in light harvesting clusters • When chlorophyll pigments absorb light they lose an excited electron. • Chlorophyll absorbs light in the wavelengths peaking at 450nm / 680nm • Other pigments eg chlorophyll b and carotenoids present which absorb other wavelengths • All pigments arranged into photosystems (light harvesting complexes) with a chlorophyll a molecule at the reaction centre • The pigments ‘funnel’ the excited electrons (energy) to the centre of the photosystem using electron carriers in the membrane • Two different photosystems: P700 and P680 both containing chlorophyll a Cyclic Photophosphorylation: • Uses P700 (Photosystem I) • Light causes chlorophyll a to emit e- which passes along the ETC (electron transport chain) then back to chlorophyll a • Energy from the e- produces ATP in the ETC


which pass along the ETC • 2e.A2 Biology Module 2804: Central Concepts Non-Cyclic Photophosphorylation: • Uses P700 (Photosystem I) and P680 (Photosystem II) • Associated with enzymes for photolysis of H2O → 2H+ + 0.5O2 + 2e• Light causes chlorophyll a to emit e.from photolysis of water replaces 2e.from P700 joins 2H+ from photolysis of water to make reduced NADP • 2e. 3C) using ATP and reduced NADP (made in light dependent stages) • TP can then be converted to make other mono/di/polysaccharides (eg glucose/sucrose/starch).lost from P680 • Now there is a high H+ concentration in the lumen of the thylakoid compared to the stroma. lipids and amino acids Calvin Cycle is light independent: • A series of enzyme controlled reactions in stroma of chloroplast • RuBP (Ribulose bisphoshate. O2. ATP: • Energy from ATP used to convert GP to TP • ATP used to phosphorylate TP in RuBP formation Reduced NADP: • Reduced NADP used to convert GP to TP (d) describe in outline the Calvin cycle involving the light independent fixation of carbon dioxide by combination with a 5C compound (RuBP) to yield two molecules of a 3C compound GP (PGA). or proteins/lipds/nucleic acids • Some TP goes to regenerate RuBP using more ATP 6 . This is due to H+ produced during photolysis of H2O (and a proton pump moving H+ ions into the thylakoid lumen) • H+ ions move across thylakoid membrane (from thylakoid lumen to the stroma) down electrochemical gradient through a protein channel containing ATP synthase generating ATP by chemiosmosis • Net result: Produces ATP. 3C) soon formed • 2 x GP reduced and phosphorylated to 2 x TP (triose phosphate.lost from P700 • 2e. and the conversion of GP into carbohydrates. 5C) is the carbon acceptor for CO2 • Carboxylation is by Rubisco enzyme • A temporary 6C compound is formed which quickly breaks down • 2 x GP (glycerate-3-phosphate.from P680 replaces 2e. and reduced NADP (c) describe the uses of ATP and reduced NADP in the light independent stage of photosynthesis.

A2 Biology Module 2804: Central Concepts (e) describe the structure of a dicotyledonous leaf. K+ channels open and K+ moves in down electrochemical gradient. cells become flaccid and close. If less water available. a palisade cell and a chloroplast. midrib and veins (xylem: water. Dicotyledonous leaf: • Broad(large surface area for photosynthesis) thin (small diffusion distance for gasses) lamina. This lowers water potential so water moves in. saving water Palisade mesophyll: • Columnar shape at right angles to leaf to reduce number of light absorbing cross wall • Closely packed with thin cell walls to absorb more incident light/CO2 • Contain large numbers of chloroplasts with lots of chlorophyll • Large vacuole pushes chloroplasts to side of cell so there is a short diffusion path for CO2 and more light to absorb or avoid light damage • Chloroplasts can be moved to optimize position for light absorption • Cylindrical cells allow air spaces for circulation/reservoir of gasses (CO2) and a large surface area for exchange/diffusion Chloroplast: • Biconvex shape with double membrane • Membranes of grana and thylakoids give large surface area for energy conversion in the light dependent reactions (photophosphorylation) • Pigments arranged into photosystems • Proton pumps (H+) present for chemiosmosis • ATP and reduced NADP present for use by the enzymes (rubisco) of the light independent reactions in the stroma • Storage of starch and lipids • Some DNA and small ribosomes present for making some proteins 7 . phloem: sugars) • Adapted for gas exchange with spongy mesophyll and stomata • Sun leaves have more chloroplasts absorbing more light for a greater rate of photosynthesis • Shade leaves have thinner leaf/thinner cuticle/shorter palisade cells/fewer chloroplasts • Guard cells: Actively pump H+ out. Guard cell now becomes turgid and is forced open. and relate their structures to their roles in photosynthesis.

CO2 concentration • Some O2 used in aerobic respiration so not true rate 8 .A2 Biology Module 2804: Central Concepts (f) discuss limiting factors in photosynthesis. an increase in light or CO2 will increase the rate of photosynthesis then start to level off. CO2 concentration and temperature can be limiting factors If other factors are not limiting. Temperature effects enzymes as normal (kinetic energy/denaturing) Measure effect of light intensity on photosynthesis: • Trap bubbles of O2 given off by plant after certain length of time • Use syringe to draw bubbles into capillary tube and measure length and calculate volume • Move lamp (light%1/d2) and measure light intensity Experimental notes: • Let apparatus equilibrate at each new light intensity • Use thermostatic water bath and thermometer to regulate temperature • Control other variables eg. and carry out investigations on the effects of light. carbon dioxide and temperature on the rate of photosynthesis. other light sources. • • • Light intensity.