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Photosynthesis Stock Illustration - Fotosearch Enhanced

We exhale the carbon dioxide that plants need for photosynthesis.



Many scientists contributed to the discovery and understanding of photosynthesis throughout the ages; in this page are outlined some of those crucial milestone experiments that contributed to this effort.




Jan Baptista van Helmont, Flemish physician, chemist, and physicist, in the 1600s carried out a famous experiment by growing a willow tree in a pot for five years.

Photosynthesis in microorganisms - the carbon-fixing reactions Illustrations from Motifolio

Approximately 1,400 species of euglenids have been described so far, and it is possible that at least twice that many await discovery. The amount of morphological and behavioral diversity present in this group is exceptionally high (e.g. see and Fig. 1) and provides compelling evidence for major events in eukaryote evolution, such as the punctuated effects of secondary endosymbiosis and mutations in underlying developmental mechanisms (Leander et al. 2007). Several photosynthetic and osmotrophic species are bloom-formers in nutrient-rich conditions and are useful indicators of environmental pollution. Phagotrophic species (i.e. bacterivores and eukaryovores) are ubiquitous primary consumers and are important components of microbial food webs across the globe. Knowledge of euglenids extends back to the invention of the first microscope in the late 1600’s by Leeuwenhoek, and a few of these species have subsequently been used as model systems for addressing a wide variety of questions in basic cell biology. Euglena gracilis, for instance, is familiar to nearly every student who has ever taken a general biology course in high school, college or university.

Photosynthesis clipart - Clipground

The presence of chlorophyll, the photosynthetic pigment, in plant cells makes it possible for photosynthesis to take place.

Animals that consume plants also make use of this energy, as do those that consume those that consume plants, and so on to the top of the food chain.

As important a job as making all of the world's food is, there's another vital function that photosynthesis performs: It generates the oxygen that oxygen-breathing animals need to survive.

While the basic functions of both plant cells and the animal cells are similar to each other, the one function that is exclusive to plant cells is photosynthesis: the synthesis of food using water and carbon dioxide, in the presence of sunlight.

Photosynthesis and Respiration vocabulary (with illustrations)

friends as you journey through the light-dependent reactions and Calvin cycle of photosynthesis

The strips are composed mostly of a family of proteins called “articulins” (Marrs and Bouck 1992). The strips run along the length of the cell and may be arranged longitudinally or helically, depending on the species. In general, the main frame of each pellicle strip is “S-shaped” in cross section and consists of an arch region and a heel region that defines a groove (Leander et al. 2007; Leander and Farmer 2001a, Fig. 4). Adjacent strips articulate along their lateral margins; the strip arch overlaps with the heel of a neighboring strip, giving the surface of euglenid cells a striated appearance. The articulation zones between adjacent strips are discontinuities in the cell surface that facilitate (1) dynamic changes in cell shape, called metaboly or euglenoid movement (see Fig. 5; also see ), and (2) cytoskeletal replication prior to cell division (i.e. cytokinesis). Metaboly is correlated with cells that have a large number of pellicle strips (over 20) and is thought to facilitate the ingestion of large food particles, such as other eukaryotic cells (Leander 2004; Leander et al. 2001, 2007). Metaboly also corresponds to the origin of eukaryovory in euglenids and set the stage for the secondary endosymbiotic event that led to the origin of photosynthesis in a diverse subgroup of euglenids (Leander 2004; Leander et al. 2001). Accordingly, many early diverging lineages of primay osmotrophic and photoautotrophic euglenids are still capable of metaboly (Fig. 5); this feature is a vestige of their eukaryovorous ancestry.

The number and morphology of chloroplasts within euglenid cells is very diverse (e.g. shield-shaped, disc-shaped and star-shaped) and reflects evolutionary relationships, different stages in cell development and environmental conditions. Some euglenophytes are known to switch nutritional modes and survive in the dark, whereby the chloroplasts become bleached over time. Several different groups of euglenophytes include descendents that have independently lost photosynthesis (e.g. "Khawkinea quartana"—now Euglena quartana, "Astasia longa"—now Euglena longa, "Hyalophacus"—now Phacus and "Cyclidiopsis"—now Lepocinclis); however, highly reduced chloroplasts still exist within these secondary osmotrophs (Hachtel 1998).

In this video, students will learn about photosynthesis through a cute song with illustrations
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The Discovery of Photosynthesis

Milanowski, R., S. Kosmala, B. Zakrys, and J. Kwiatowski. 2006. Phylogeny of photosynthetic euglenophytes based on combined chloroplast and cytoplasmic SSU rDNA sequence analysis. J. Phycol. 42:721-730.

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