Plant Nutrition

Nutrition is the process through which living organisms acquire and utilize food from their external environment for metabolic activities like respiration, growth, excretion, and reproduction.   Photosynthetic or holophytic nutrition involves green plants manufacturing their own organic food from simple inorganic substances—carbon dioxide, water, sunlight, and chlorophyll—resulting in the production of oxygen. The process can […]

Nutrition is the process through which living organisms acquire and utilize food from their external environment for metabolic activities like respiration, growth, excretion, and reproduction.

 

Photosynthetic or holophytic nutrition involves green plants manufacturing their own organic food from simple inorganic substances—carbon dioxide, water, sunlight, and chlorophyll—resulting in the production of oxygen. The process can be represented by the equation: 6CO2 + 6H2O + Sunlight energy + Chlorophyll → C6H12O6 + 6CO2.

 

Photosynthesis occurs in two stages: the light reaction and the dark reaction. The light reaction, dependent on light, involves the absorption of light energy by chlorophyll to break water into hydroxyl (OH–) and hydrogen (H+) ions through photolysis. This stage transfers light energy to ATP and produces reduced NADP, which, in the dark, converts into chemical energy in organic compounds.

 

In the dark reaction, carbon dioxide combines with a five-carbon sugar to form two molecules of phosphoglyceric acid (PGA), which then convert to carbohydrates in the presence of ATP and NADPH2. Other products of photosynthesis include proteins and fats, produced according to the plant’s needs.

 

The main product of photosynthesis is simple sugar, which is partially used by the plant and the excess is converted to starch for storage and translocation to other plant parts through phloem vessels.

 

Photosynthesis is crucial for various reasons:

  1. Production of food for living organisms.
  2. Purification of the atmosphere by using carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.
  3. Maintenance of the oxygen balance in the atmosphere.
  4. Serving as a building block for other substances like proteins and oils.

 

Chemosynthetic nutrition involves certain bacteria manufacturing their own food from simple inorganic substances using chemical energy released during the process. For example, sulfur bacteria oxidize hydrogen sulfide to chemical energy.

 

Experiments are conducted to test for photosynthesis, including demonstrating the presence of starch in leaves, the necessity of sunlight, carbon dioxide, and chlorophyll for photosynthesis, as well as the production of oxygen as a by-product.

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