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The process of photsynthesis begins with the collection of solar energy, carbon
dioxide, and water. Energy travels in light waves from the sun to a plant, and is
absorbed by light-harvesting complexes within the plants cells called chlorphyll.
These cells are located in the green tissue of the leaf, called the mesophyll.
Photosynthesis has two reactions that occur within these chloroplasts. The first
process is called the Light Reaction, where sunlight and water get absorbed through
the plant cells and eventually create oxygen. The second process is called the Dark
Reaction, or the Calvin Cycle, and this is where carbon dioxide is collected and
eventually turned into G3P (glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate), or Glucose.
Chloroplast- Light and Dark Reactions

Step 1- Light Reaction

The process of the Light Reaction occurs in the Thylakoid, which are flattened sacks
located within the chloroplast. When light hits the reation center of the Thylakoid,
this excites the molecules and photons within the cell, causing a vibrating effect.
Once these electron molecules become excited enough, they are released from the
reaction center, and begin traveling through the electron transport chain. This is
where water is released and broken down into oxygen and hydrogen. Eventually,
this creates a product known as ATP (adensosine triphoshate), which is responsible
for transporting chemical energy within the cells for metabolism. Once the electrons
reach the end of the transport chain, NADP (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide
phosphate) is produced. NADP is a product that is present in cells that helps to
break down carbon dioxide into glucose (sugar). Once NADP get excited and reenergized by these traveling electrons, NADP becomes NADPH, which is in basic, a
reduced form of NADP that helps break down that carbon dioxide even easier. Once
these energized electrons reach the end of the electron transport chain, the ATP
(energy) is released through what is known as an ATP Synthase, which can be
thought of as a water wheel, constantly in motion, processing energy to move it on
into the next process, the Calvin Cycle.

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Step 2- The Calvin Cycle
The Calvin Cycle is the second step of photosynthesis, known as cellular respiration.
In summary, this process is converting carbon dioxide from the air, into sugar. The
Calvin Cycle takes the released products of the Light Reaction process, the ATP and
the NADPH, and begins its function of reduction within the Stroma (cell tissue). This
process specifically takes the carbon dioxide, synthesizes it into organic
compounds, reduces the carbon dioxide down using ATP and NADPH, and what
comes out is G3P (glucose and other
organic molecules).
This process continues in a cycle of
adding and using ATP
The Calvin
and NADPH to create these end products.

G3P (glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate)-used to make organic materials such as glucose.

Glucose- Sugar
NADP/NADPH-Provides electrons produced to reduce carbon dioxide
ATP Synthase- energy storage molecule, like a water wheel for energy currency
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Alexandra Farmer