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Oxygen is a chemical element with symbol O and atomic number 8
So we can summarize by saying that the photosynthetic plantstrap solar energy to form ATP and NADPH (Light Phase) and thenuse these as the energy source to make carbohydrates and otherbiomolecules from carbon dioxide and water (Dark Phase),simultaneously releasing oxygen in to the atmosphere. Thechemoheterotrophic animals reverse this process by using theoxygen to degrade the energy-rich organic products ofphotosynthesis to CO2 and water in order to generate ATP fortheir own synthesis of biomolecules.
In the earliest days of life on Earth, it had to solve the problems of how to reproduce, how to separate itself from its environment, how to acquire raw materials, and how to make the chemical reactions that it needed. But it was confined to those areas where it could take advantage of briefly available potential energy as . The earliest process of skimming energy from energy gradients to power life is called respiration. That earliest respiration is today called because there was virtually no free oxygen in the atmosphere or ocean in those early days. Respiration was life’s first energy cycle. A biological energy cycle begins by harvesting an energy gradient (usually by a proton crossing a membrane or, in photosynthesis, directly capturing photon energy), and the acquired energy powered chemical reactions. The cycle then proceeds in steps, and the reaction products of each step sequentially use a little more energy from the initial capture until the initial energy has been depleted and the cycle’s molecules are returned to their starting point and ready for a fresh influx of energy to repeat the cycle.
NOVA - Official Website | Illuminating Photosynthesis
For each electron flowing from water to NADP+ (a net change in1.14 volts), two quanta of light are absorbed, one by eachPhotosystem. Each molecule of oxygen released involves the flowof four electrons from two water molecules to two NADP+s andrequires four quanta of sunlight absorbed by each Photosystem toprovide the energy to do this. These are the "Light PhaseReactions" of photosynthesis, which produce two high energychemical products, namely NADPH and ATP.
Butwhat happens at night when there is no sunlightwhich is needed in photosynthesis? Interestingly,in order to maintain their metabolism and continuerespiration at night, plants must absorb oxygenfrom the air and give off carbon dioxide (which isexactly what animals do). Fortunately for all ofus oxygen breathers, plants produce approximatelyten times more oxygen during the day that whatthey consume at night.
Chemistry for Biologists: Photosynthesis
Some bacteria use Photosystem I and some use Photosystem II. More than two bya, and maybe more than three bya, cyanobacteria used both, and a miraculous instance of innovation tied them together. were then used to strip electrons from water. Although the issue is still controversial regarding when it happened and how, that instance of cyanobacteria's using manganese to strip electrons from water is responsible for oxygenic photosynthesis. It seems that some enzymes that use manganese may have been "drafted" into forming the manganese cluster responsible for splitting water in oxygenic photosynthesis. Water is not an easy molecule to strip an electron from, a single cyanobacterium seems to have “stumbled” into it, and it probably happened only . Once an electron was stripped away from water in Photosystem I, then stripping away a proton (a hydrogen nucleus) essentially removed one hydrogen atom from the water molecule. That proton was then used to drive a “turbine” that manufactures ATP, and wonderful show how those protons drive that enzyme turbine (). Oxygen is a waste product of that innovative ATP factory.
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