bp's science: photosynthesis (v.1)

A few weeks ago, Jess gave a talk in church. He said lots of good things and he even mentioned photosynthesis. Of all the things Jess said, Oliver clung to that word, "photosynthesis." He kept repeating it after the talk was over. Now what a perfect subject for this Tuesday.

Photosynthesis in the easiest terms is when a plant (or bacteria or algae, etc.) uses the sunlight's energy to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into sugar (C6H12O6). Chlorophyll is the molecule in the plant cell that enables plants to turn light into food, e.g., sugar. It's what makes plants green and it's where photosynthesis takes place.

The reaction is all very simple really and it occurs through the actions of the Calvin Cycle (see chart below).

Okay, no, it's not all that simple and it takes a few steps (all of which I was required and I attempted to memorize in molecular biology one semester). I mean, look at the process, the detail, the complexity. It truly is amazing and makes evident that God is in all things. And that's why photosynthesis is appropriate for a church talk and a bp's science post all at the same time!

Want to test a plant's need for carbon dioxide out? Take three plants, rub petroleum jelly on the top of the leaves of plant 1, on the bottom of the leaves of plant 2, and leave plant 3 alone. Water the plant as necessary and watch the plants each day. Plant 1 will suffer, plant 2 will die, and plant 3 will grow fine. Turns out, plants take air in through the underside of their leaves and when they can't get enough air, they can't go through photosynthesis, and they die. I took this experiment from a lovely book I've had quite fun reading and will use for my kidlet(s) when they get older.


The Jeff Bylund Family said...

Very cool. I love reading these science posts!

jo said...

What a great science project. Do I smell future science fair project?

Ah, molecular biology. Makes one want to shout, "Science!"

Is the Krebs cycle next?

kel said...

yea Ollie! i love photosynthesis too. it was the only test in AP Bio that i got 100% on. thanks bp science!