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Photosynthesis is the process by which plants, some bacteria, and some protistans convert light energy (sun) into chemical energy (food). These organisms are referred to as the Producers and they are vitally important to all life on earth. They produce food for themselves and to feed the Consumers who cannot make their own food. Oxygen, also essential for life, is a by-product of photosynthesis.

The food web describes how the energy produced by plants flows through an ecosystem. In this tutorial, you will learn the structures and processes involved in photosynthesis.

Two Factories

Most of us are familiar with the concept of a factory, where raw materials enter and finished products exit. Imagine photosynthesis occuring in two connecting factories. The products of the first factory, the energy-carrying molecules ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and NADPH (reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate), power the second factory to make sugar, the final product.

Animation (172K)


Overview | Food Web | Leaf Structure | The Chloroplast | Pigments | Oxygen

Light Dependent Process | Light Independent Process

Problem Set

The Biology Project > Biochemistry > Introduction to Photosynthesis >