Plants are essential organisms in the environment, using the sun and CO2 to produce oxygen. This is the process of photosynthesis. Plants are producers, meaning they are able to provide themselves with the nutrition they need to thrive. When plants have an abundance of carbon dioxide, they thrive in performing light reactions and the Calvin Cycle.
Photosynthesis is the process in which plants produce their own food to survive. Light energy is captured by the chloroplasts of the plant and is converted into sugars that the plant can break down and use. The reactants in this process are light energy, water, and carbon dioxide. As a result, the plant releases oxygen and constructs glucose to provide the organism with energy. Since plants do not need other organisms to feed and rely on the sun, they are called photoautotrophs. Other organisms that are incapable of producing their own energy are called heterotrophs (Khan Academy, 2017).
In a plant organism, the leaves are the active site of photosynthesis. Stomata are small pores on the surface of leaves, allowing carbon dioxide and oxygen to travel through the mesophyll. Chloroplasts are the organelles in a plant cell that carry out the photosynthetic reactions. The Granum is a stack of thylakoids that carry out the light reactions. The Stroma of the plant cell is a fluid where the Calvin Cycle takes place and energy is transferred.
The light reactions that occur in the thylakoid membrane absorbs light energy and is converted into energy forming ATP and NADPH. Water molecules are taken, broken down, and released as oxygen. The Calvin cycle occurring in the Stroma uses ATP and NADPH to produce glucose. NADPH and ATP are converted into NADP and ADP through the transfer of energy, creating a transport chain (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2017). Carbon is first fixed to create a 2 molecules of a three carbon compound, then ATP and NADPH are reduced and electrons are transferred, and finally regeneration occurs, which recycles the molecules to begin the process all over again. (Campbell, 2011)
Carbon dioxide is a required reactant in photosynthesis, and the more it is available, the faster the plant is able to perform this process. In this lab, the presence of carbon is being tested to prove the significance of it in this process. It can be hypothesized that the beaker with the sodium bicarbonate solution will perform the photosynthetic reaction at a faster rate than the beaker with just plain water. After removing all oxygen from the leaves, the beaker with the sodium bicarbonate will have all leaves floating first due to the carbon dioxide availability.
2 spinach leaves
Fill one beaker with water and the other with the sodium bicarbonate mixed with water. Add one drop of soap to both beakers to remove the waxy layer on the spinach leaves. Obtain both spinach leaves and hole punch 20 disks out of them. Take one syringe and
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