Plants make their own food as they are not parasitic in nature. They are able to do this because of a process known as photosynthesis.
Through the process of photosynthesis, plants and other organisms are able to convert light energy into chemical energy. Any extra food created by plants can be turned into starch, which can be used in the future.
How Do Plants Make Food?
Plants can create their own food through a process known as photosynthesis. During photosynthesis, plants are able to store sunlight within their leaves. At the same time, they also take up water from the roots and carbon dioxide gas from the air. By using the energy from sunlight, plants convert water and carbon dioxide into glucose.
The Process of Photosynthesis
Photosynthesis can only occur with the help of carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight. Without them, plants will not be able to produce carbohydrates and oxygen.
Plants are able to build a basic structure of glucose through photosynthesis. But they also produce other carbon-based chemicals that are important for growth and survival.
- In the process of photosynthesis, the first step starts when the plant absorbs water through the roots, which rises up the stem and into the leaf cells called “chloroplast.”
- Chloroplast contains the green pigment known as “chlorophyll,” which helps give your plant its green color. Chlorophyll is also responsible for absorbing sunlight and using it to create chemical reactions in the plant.
- Chlorophyll present inside the chloroplast absorbs a single photon of light and exchanges it for an electron. A series of chemical reactions occur, and this eventually replaces the lost electron from the water present within the leaf.
- After the chemical reaction, oxygen atoms in the water separate from the hydrogen atoms, and here oxygen is released into the air as a “waste product” of the plant. This leaves behind hydrogen, which is collected and synthesized to form carbohydrate molecules.
- This process, which creates the actual food for the plant, does not require sunlight, so it is known as a “dark reaction.”
- In another part of the plant’s leaf known as the stroma, carbon dioxide is absorbed into the leaves. The carbon dioxide is reduced to carbon and oxygen.
- Oxygen is released back into the air, which lets the hydrogen present in the leaves combine with the carbon. This produces a product which is a simple sugar.
- These simple sugars can be combined with any organic compound to give the plant nutrition or can be used for the plant’s structural needs.
- The sunlight absorbed by the leaves is not used directly. First, it is converted into chemical energy.
- Only 5 percent of the light is used for photosynthesis, while 30 to 50 percent is stored in the form of chemical energy.
Many scientists believe that photosynthesis in green plants was responsible for the earth’s breathable atmosphere. Every day, plants replenish the environment by filtering carbon-dioxide into oxygen.
Photosynthesis is considered to be an essential part of life on earth as it not only produces food for plants but it also gives humans being oxygen and food.
The Use of Water in Plants for Photosynthesis
Water is one of the three most important elements of photosynthesis. Without water, photosynthesis cannot occur.
While light energy can easily be absorbed under sunlight and carbon dioxide can be absorbed from the atmosphere, water can sometimes be hard to come by. Water is not only used in photosynthesis for its hydrogen molecules, but it also prevents your plants from getting dehydrated.
The leaves of your plant contain an opening known as stomata, and this is the place where gaseous exchange occurs. Carbon-dioxide combined with water is drawn into the stomata during the process of photosynthesis.
Once a few chemical reactions occur, oxygen and water vapors are released back into the atmosphere through a process known as transpiration. The process of transpiration slows down during dry seasons since the plant must retain moisture within itself.
For transpiration to slow down, the stomata must be closed, which is only possible with the help of guard cells. Guard cells need to be filled in with water for the stomata to close, allowing your plant to keep moisture within itself.
In addition to providing indirect support and moisture retention during the process of photosynthesis, your plant also needs water for a series of chemical reactions that occur during photosynthesis.
Light energy reacts with the chlorophyll present in the leaves, which excites the electrons. The charge created at that moment converts light energy into important chemicals known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH).
These chemical compounds are then used to store light energy that was absorbed from the sun. During this process, water is split into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is then combined with carbon dioxide to create sugar, which the plant uses as energy.
4 Factors Affecting Photosynthesis
1) Light intensity
Without proper sunlight, plants cannot photosynthesize quickly, even if water and carbon-dioxide are present. Increasing light intensity also helps boost the rate of photosynthesis.
However, some plants require less light for photosynthesis as compared to others, which is why each plant must be catered according to their needs. If some plants are kept under direct sunlight, then they can burn.
2) Nature of Light
Some forms of light are more effective for photosynthesis as compared to others. The regions of “visible light” that are blue and red are said to be most effective for photosynthesis.
This is why sunlight is always the first preferred source of lighting for plants. If your plant is provided with some other color of light, then the rate of photosynthesis decreases.
3) Carbon dioxide concentration
The rate of photosynthesis will decrease if a sufficient amount of carbon dioxide is not present, even if sunlight and water are in abundance. This is because the carbon molecule present in carbon-dioxide is an important part of photosynthesis.
Some plants can photosynthesize in cold temperatures, while others can photosynthesize in hot temperatures. However, if any plant is not provided with its optimum temperature, then the rate of photosynthesis decreases, which causes your plant to die.
Frequently Asked Questions About How Plants Make Food
Does Water Help Plants Make Food?
Water in the plant cells helps the plant produce food, grow leaves, and make stems firm. Water is also responsible for carrying the minerals from the soil so that plants can remain healthy and strong.
How do Leafless Plants Make Food?
Plants like Cacti do not have traditional leaves. However, these types of plants have spines that are a modified version of leaves, and the stem of such plants contain chlorophyll in them, which helps them produce food.
What Do Plants Use Their Food For?
Glucose is produced during photosynthesis, and this is the plant’s source of food. Plants use glucose to gain energy for growth or to make substances such as cellulose and starch.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.