What Is The Importance of Photosynthesis?
Photosynthesis is the process through which plants provide oxygen to the planet and produce their own food, with the raw materials they have at their disposal.
Why should we care about photosynthesis?
Did you know that all living things depend in a certain way on green plants? That being the case, the process of photosynthesis is more important than it seems.
Thanks to the light, plants are able to capture carbon dioxide and expel oxygen throughout the day, while at night it happens the other way round: they absorb oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Light-dependent reactions cause the plant to expel twice as much oxygen per day, compared to the amount of carbon dioxide released when there is no light. This allows there to be life on Earth.
Oxygen is a fundamental substance for life, because it is necessary for respiration, not only pulmonary but also cellular, of organisms. Photosynthesis is responsible for us having the oxygen we need.
Process part of the construction of life
Although it is a concatenation of enzymatic steps of amazing complexity, photosynthesis can be summarized in a few stages. The fundamental data is the capture of the luminous energy coming from the Sun by means of a series of pigments, of which chlorophyll stands out in particular. This molecule contains a magnesium atom located in such a way that the solar photons are captured in small organelles present in plant cells, which are called chloroplasts. These photons provide the energy necessary for plants to convert 2 inorganic molecules (carbon dioxide produced as waste from respiration and water obtained by the environment through the roots) into organic molecules, of which the most usual is the glucose As a consequence of this phenomenon, molecular oxygen is also released. In a synoptic way, the set of these reactions is synthesized in this equation:
6 CO2 (carbon dioxide) + 6 H2O (water) + light = C6H12O6 (glucose) + 6 O2 (oxygen)
Therefore, energy from the Sun in the form of light (light energy) is transformed by the metabolic processes of photosynthesis into chemical energy, stored in organic molecules.
Since animals can not perform photosynthesis, they are forced to consume these molecules directly from the intake of vegetables or other animals that have previously been nourished with vegetables. As final products of the degradation of the organic molecules, carbon dioxide and water, necessary for the restart of the complete cycle, are returned to the environment.
Therefore, the importance of photosynthesis resides in its condition as an indispensable source of energy for the biosphere in its entirety, as a unit integrated to the dynamics of the planet Earth.
What do green plants do for us?
Green plants have a very important role in the development of life. Not only do they help us generate oxygen, there are other areas in which their contribution is fundamental:
1. Maintain the balance of atmospheric gases. Thanks to photosynthesis, the oxygen consumed in respiration and combustion can be replaced, avoiding the increase of carbon dioxide that could eventually harm us.
2. They are the basis of the feeding of many living organisms. The life cycle begins thanks to the plants, because everything we eat, both people and animals, comes from one way or another of them. In the case of the human diet, it is known that approximately 7,000 species have been used as food throughout history, although only 200 are grown domestically. In addition, 9 of them are considered essential: rice, potatoes, sugar cane, beans, corn, plantain, sorghum, soybeans and wheat.
3. They have medicinal properties: Since ancient times, many of the medicines we use come directly from plants. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in Central America the use of medicinal plants is still common, both for domestic consumption and for export. To make matters worse, many chemicals are extracted from them to be used in the production of drugs.
4. They work as construction material. Yes, we talk about the wood with which you can make houses, furniture and lots of things, but also the bamboo that is increasingly common in buildings, or palm leaves that serve for roofs, or many others. They are also used to generate energy through combustion and to produce paper.
5. Protect the soil. The decomposition of organic matter, mostly plants, allowed the soil to obtain the necessary nutrients for agriculture. In addition, the roots hold the earth, preventing erosion and thereby preventing accidents such as landslides or desertification.
The current deforestation has made the absorption of carbon decreases more and more, which has caused the atmosphere to heat up and that is why the climate changes are more drastic.
Understanding the importance of photosynthesis is to accept that all living beings are deeply related, in a perfect balance where plants are fundamental. In our hands is to take care of them to prevent climate change and everything that derives from it from happening.