How does photosynthesis work?

A basic Explanation of how photosynthesis works in plants

Photosynthesis is the process that green plants use to absorb energy from sunlight and use it to produce energy, in the form of sugar. The sugar (glucose) is then used by the plant live and grow.

In plants, photosynthesis requires a combination of carbon dioxide, water and light energy. All of these substances must be either obtained by or transported to the plants leaves. Carbon dioxide is obtained through tiny pores in plant leaves called stomata. Oxygen is also released through the stomata. Water is obtained by the plant through the roots and delivered to the leaves through vascular plant tissue systems. Sunlight is absorbed by chlorophyll, a green pigment located in plant cell structures called chloroplasts. Chloroplasts are the sites of photosynthesis.

Photosynthesis occurs in two stages. These stages are called the light reactions and the dark reactions. The light reactions take place in the presence of light. The dark reactions do not require direct light, however dark reactions in most plants occur during the day.

Light reactions occur mostly in the thylakoid stacks of the grana. Here, sunlight is converted to chemical energy in the form of ATP (free energy containing molecule) and NADPH (high energy electron carrying molecule). Chlorophyll absorbs light energy and starts a chain of steps that result in the production of ATP, NADPH, and oxygen (through the splitting of water). Oxygen is released through the stomata. Both ATP and NADPH are used in the dark reactions to produce sugar.

Dark reactions occur in the stroma. Carbon dioxide is converted to sugar using ATP and NADPH. This process is known as carbon fixation or the Calvin cycle. Carbon dioxide is combined with a 5-carbon sugar creating a 6-carbon sugar. The 6-carbon sugar is eventually broken-down into two molecules, glucose and fructose. These two molecules make sucrose or sugar.