For an explanation, see the main splats page
SPLATS about photosynthesis
The principles of photosynthesis
- Plants are producer organisms, but they need both oxygen for respiration and carbon dioxide for photosynthesis in order to operate as a living organism.
- Most photosynthesis happens in leaves, but it can also take place in cladodes and phyllodes, which are modified and flattened stems and petioles.
- All of the photosynthetic parts of plants (leaves, cladodes and phyllodes) contain chloroplasts, small organelles where photosynthesis actually takes place.
- Photosynthetic parts need stomates or pores to let gases in and out: the opening of the stomates is controlled by the guard cells on either side of the stomate.
- Photosynthesis in plants would not take place without the chlorophyll that is contained in the chloroplasts, which is used to produce energetic electrons.
- According to serial endosymbiosis theory, chloroplasts were once independent organisms which then found welcoming shelter inside other primitive organisms.
- Plants appear to be green because chlorophyll does not extract the energy from green light, and this wavelength is reflected away from the leaf.
- In any conditions, there will always be a limiting factor on productivity in plants, some item which is in short supply and so limits photosynthesis.
- Plants use at least two different photosynthetic pathways, known as C3 and C4. C4 plants are more efficient than C3 plants in photosynthesis.
- The difference between C3 and C4 plants lies in just a few key enzymes, but it leads to curious effects which may be detected long after the plant has died.
- The uptake of the stable isotopes of carbon, carbon-12 and carbon-13, varies between C3 (less carbon-13) and C4 plants, which have more carbon-13.
- An examination of the stable carbon isotopes in animal material reveals whether the animals ate C3 or C4 plants, and so may indicate past climate details.
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