Photosynthesis at WorkThese plants are growing and they are using light energy to help them grow. They do this through a process called photosynthesis.
Plants use carbon dioxide (CO2), water (H2O), and light energy to perform photosynthesis. This can be summarized by this formula 6CO2 + 6H2O + Energy (solar) →C6H12O6 + 6O2.
A light dependent reaction takes place when chlorophyll molecules within the plant cell, located in the thylakoid, absorb sunlight. That light energy is transferred to NADPH and ATP molecules which carry high energy electrons to a light-independent reaction. When NADPH and ATP molecules are formed, oxygen is released by the plant.
In the light-independent reaction the NADPH and ATP molecules combine with carbon dioxide and water to form energy storage molecules like glucose (C6H12O6)
Animals, including humans, need both oxygen and glucose to sustain life. Animals breathe the oxygen that plants release. The glucose is harvested by eating the plant or parts of plants.
Animal cell respiration works opposite of photosynthesis. Cell respiration uses glucose and oxygen. This can be summarized by this formula C6H12O6 + 6O2→6CO2 + 6H2O + Energy (ATP and Heat).