Monday, July 11, 2011

Class IX, BIOLOGY, "Photosynthesis"


Photosynthesis is a Latin word derived from two words photo (light) synthesis (building up). In this process, green plants manufacture carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water. The energy needed for this process is obtained from sunlight, which is absorbed by chlorophyll and oxygen is produced as by-product. Leaves are the major sites of photosynthesis in most plants but all green parts of a plant including green stems; un-ripened fruit can carry out photosynthesis. Temperature also plays a very important role in photosynthesis. Temperature affects the rate of photosynthesis. This process occurs during day time only.

Conditions and Factors Necessary for Photosynthesis

Plants need water for many functions of life. Water enters the root hair from the soil. It passes through various cells and reaches the xylem of the root. From here it moves to the stem and then the veins of the leaves. Finally, it reaches the mesophyll cells in the leaves. It provides hydrogen for the synthesis of glucose and helps in opening and closing of stomata. If leaves get less water, less stomata open, this reduces the rate of photosynthesis. Opening of more stomata provide more carbon dioxide for photosynthesis.

Carbon Dioxide
This is an important factor which affects photosynthesis. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is about 0.03% and does not vary much. Its amount differs from place to place which may affect the rate of photosynthesis. e.g. the concentration of carbon dioxide close to the ground in a dense forest is higher than in an open field. Although carbon dioxide is needed in very little amount by the plants, yet photosynthesis cannot take place without it. It diffuses from the air into the intercellular spaces through stomata and enters the chloroplasts in the mesophyll cells. Carbon dioxide provides carbon to build up glucose molecule. If the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases to 1% rate of photosynthesis also increases, and it starts decreasing if concentration of carbon dioxide is decreased. If the concentration of carbon dioxide decreases below 0.03% the rate of photosynthesis also declines.

It is the green substance. It is found in special organelles called chloroplasts, which are found in the green leaves and herbaceous stems. In leaves, it is present in the mesophyll cells. Chlorophyll changes light energy into chemical energy and makes food in plants. Plants lacking chlorophyll cannot carry out photosynthesis occurs only in those parts where chlorophyll is present.

Light is very important for the process of photosynthesis. Without light the photosynthesis cannot take place. It provides energy needed for the synthesis of glucose molecule. Light intensity varies from day to day and from place to place. Plants photosynthesize faster on a bright sunny day than on a cloudy day. While light consists of seven colours. The blue and red are best for photosynthesis.

Is Chlorophyll Necessary for Photosynthesis?

Since it is not possible to remove chlorophyll from a leaf without killing it, so it becomes necessary to use a leaf where chlorophyll is present only in patches. Such a leaf is known as variegated leaf and a plant with such leaves is used in this experiment.
For destarching the leaves, the pot is kept in a dark place for a couple of days and then exposed to day light for a few hours. The leaf is then removed from plant. Its outline is carefully drawn to note the position of presence or absence of chlorophyll on it.
Now iodine is applied to the leaf to test for the presence of starch (starch when ever comes in contact with iodine turns blue).
This test shows that only those parts which were prevously green turned blue with iodine while the white parts turned brown. This result indicates that starch is formed only in those parts of the leaf where chlorophyll exists (i.e. green parts). In other words photosynthesis is not possible without chlorophyll. If this were possible the white parts of the laf should have also given a blue colour with iodine.

Is Light Necessary for Photosynthesis

A potted plant is destarched by keeping it in the dark room for two days. It is then transferred to light. Two of its leaves are selected for the examination. One leaf is wrapped completely in black paper. The other leaf is also wrapped in black paper but an L-shaped part of the paper is cut out so that light can reach this part of the leaf through it. The plant is placed in the sunlight for 4 to 6 hours. The two leaves are now detached from the plant and tested for presence of starch. It would be observed that the leaf which does not receive any light is free of starch (remains brown with iodine). However, in the second leaf, light could pass through the L-shaped opening in the black paper. Only this L-shaped area turns dark blue while the other parts of the leaf remain brown. This shows that light plays a vital role in the manufacture of starch since starch is manufactured due to photosynthesis, light is essential for this process.

Is Carbon Dioxide Necessary for Photosynthesis


Two potted plants are destarched by keeping them in a dark room they are watered properly during this period. Each pot is enclosed in a transparent polythene bag as show in figure. A petri dish containing soda lime (potassium hydroxide) is placed on one of the pots to absorb any carbon dioxide present in the polythene bag. In the other pot a petri dish is placed containing sodium bi-carbonate solution which would produce carbon dioxide. The plants are then left in light for several hours. A leaf from each pot is detached and tested for starch. The leaf from the pot containing soda lime does not turn blue. soda lime had absorbed any carbon dioxide present in the bag. The leaf from the other pot where carbon dioxide was being released by the sodium bicarbonates solution turns blue indicating the presence of starch. These results show that carbon dioxide is essential for photosynthesis

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