Photosynthesis, derived from the Greek words photo, meaning "light," and synthesis "putting together," is a process used by plants and some bacteria to harness the energy from sunlight to convert water and carbon dioxide to produce sugar (glucose) and oxygen.
The Photosynthesis Equation
The photosynthesis equation is as follows:
6CO2 + 6H20 + (energy) → C6H12O6 + 6O2 Carbon dioxide + water + energy from light produces glucose and oxygen.
The equation depicts the process by which plants and some bacteria produce glucose from carbon dioxide and water using energy from sunlight, as indicated in Jones and Jones' Advanced Biology Textbook (1997). In most plants, water is supplied from the roots, with the leaves collecting carbon dioxide via the stomata and sunlight captured by the chloroplasts in the leaves.
The Light- Dependent and Independent Reactions
Photosynthesis is comprised of two stages, the light-dependent reaction and the light-independent reactions, as explained in Jones and Jones. The light-dependent reaction uses energy captured from sunlight by the chloropasts in plant leaves to produce a supply of electrons for the light-independent reactions. The light-independent reactions use energy from the supply of electrons to reduce carbon dioxide to produce glucose.
Products of Photosynthesis
The resulting glucose is converted to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) through cellular respiration, as explained on the Estrella Mountain Community College photosynthesis web page, to provide energy. In addition to glucose, this reaction produces oxygen that is released by the plants into the atmosphere.