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Science

Photosynthesis

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Storage and use of glucose

The glucose produced in photosynthesis may be used in various ways by plants and algae.

Storage

Glucose is needed by cells for respiration [respiration: Chemical change that takes place inside living cells, which uses glucose and oxygen to produce the energy organisms need to live. Carbon dioxide is a by-product of respiration ]. However, it is not produced at night when it is too dark for photosynthesis to happen. Plants and algae store glucose as insoluble products. These include:

  • Starch [starch: A type of carbohydrate. Plants can turn the glucose produced in photosynthesis into starch for storage, and turn it back into glucose when it is needed for respiration. ]
  • Fats and oils

Use

Some glucose is used for respiration to release energy. Some is used to produce:

  • Cellulose - which strengthens the cell wall
  • Proteins [protein: Organic compound made up of amino acid molecules. One of the three main food groups, proteins are needed by the body for cell growth and repair. ] - such as enzymes [enzyme: A protein which speeds up chemical reactions. ] and chlorophyll

Plants also need nitrates [nitrate: A negative complex ion with the formula NO3-. ] to make proteins. These are absorbed from the soil as nitrate ions [ions: Electrically charged particles, formed when an atom or molecule gains or loses electrons. ].

A tomato plant stunted as a result of mineral deficiency

The tomato plant on the left is healthy, the one on the right is growing in conditions where mineral ions are deficient

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