Why Is Photosynthesis Referred to As a Biochemical Pathway?

By Liz Veloz

Photosynthesis, the process by which green plants use light energy to make chemical energy, is an example of a biochemical pathway. Biochemical pathways are sequential steps of chemical reactions that organize energy and materials in cells.

"Ferns - Avenefica" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: Avia Venefica (A. Venefica) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.

The Facts

During photosynthesis light energy is used to convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose (sugar) and oxygen gas through a series of sequential steps.


Typically, biochemical pathways function continuously to make the products of the pathway. Each step in the pathway is catalyzed by an enzyme, or protein that speeds and regulates chemical reactions.


The products of the photosynthesis biochemical pathway are glucose and oxygen gas.


Biochemical pathways can be anabolic, catabolic or both.

Catabolic Pathways

Catabolic biochemical pathways involve the breakdown of complex compounds into simpler ones. Catabolic pathways release energy that can power anabolic pathways.

Anabolic Pathways

Anabolic biochemical pathways involve the synthesis of complex compounds from simpler ones. Photosynthesis is an anabolic biochemical pathway since light energy is used to synthesize a complex molecule, glucose, from simpler ones (carbon dioxide and water).

About the Author

Liz Veloz is a writer, scientist and college teacher living in Madison, Wis. Her science, travel and adventure writing has appeared in numerous literary journals and other publications. Veloz holds a doctorate in the biological sciences and a Master of Arts in English from the University of California, Davis.