What is Photosynthesis

Every kid is taught that plants are livings beings and they manufacture their own food with the help of sunlight. It is true that plant do make their food in the presence of sunlight. Sunlight offers quantum of energy which is required to produce complex carbonaceous organic food substance known as carbohydrates. Hence, the food making process can be summed up as the procedure in which chlorophyllous cells synthesize carbon dioxide and water to produce certain amount of carbohydrates in the presence of light. This process is called photosynthesis. 

Thus in this process radiant energy is transformed into chemical energy. We all know that plants release oxygen and take in carbon dioxide but we don’t know that photosynthesis is the reason behind it. Oxygen is a byproduct of photosynthesis and it completes the chemical equation of photosynthesis:6H2O + 6CO2 ———-> C6H12O6+ 6O2  Biochemists have proved that  oxygen which is released during photosynthesis comes from water and not from carbon dioxide. Oxygen is released by the process of photolysis in which water molecule gain energy from sunlight and split into oxygen molecules.

Historical view:
The term, Photosynthesis, is divided into two letters, photos which means light and synthesis which stands for combination or putting together.  Around 300 years, human started studying plants and came to a conclusion that plants manufacture their own food. Belgian physician, Jan Baptista van Helomont was the first one to discover such characteristics in plants. However, the breakthrough came in 18th century when Joseph Priestly executed first ever experiment on photosynthesis. He demonstrated that plants used carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and released  oxygen. Priestly work was further established by Jan Ingenhousz. He affirmed that only green plants can perform photosynthesis. In 1804, Nicholas Theodore de Saussure confirmed the importance of sunlight and water in the process. Yet, Sachs was the only to confirm plants manufacture organic food or carbohydrates and utilize it as their source of energy.

Significance of Photosynthesis:
All living beings on earth need energy to survive and food is the only source of energy. Both  plants and animals need this energy to live and photoautotrops are the only manufacturers of food on our planet. Green plants, bacteria, algae, and protits are all photoautotrops. The term photoautotrops means that organisms can capture and utilize energy from non-living sources such as soil, water, and sun. Only photoautotrops can produce food and all other organisms are incapable of producing their own food. This is chief significance of photosynthesis. Just think of a food web or a food chain and you will understand the importance of photosynthesis. Every food chain starts with a plant and then a herbivorous animal eats it, followed by a carnivorous animal who eats the herbivorous animal.

So, the carnivorous animal is indirectly engulfing the energy or food made by the plant. Photosynthesis is a very important process and every aerobic animal depends on it. Plants release oxygen by performing the process of photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is indirectly related to other form of energy such as fuel in the form of wood and scientists have affirmed that photosynthesis plays a major role in the organic process by which coal and petroleum are produced.