The leaves of a plant are the main photosynthetic organs and are involved in gas exchange and water transportation throughout a plant (Evans et al, 17). A leaf typically consists of an upper and lower epidermis, the mesophyll cells, veins, guard cells and stomata. The mesophyll cells contains spongey cells which have large gaps between each cell to allow oxygen and carbon dioxide circulation. The mesophyll cells contain palisade cells, which are located beneath the upper epidermis. The palisade cells contain many chloroplasts, which are green organelles. Located in the internal layers of chloroplasts is the pigment chlorophyll which is involved in trapping the light energy in photosynthesis (Evans et al, 17).
Autotrophs such as plants, algae and cyanobacteria harness the energy from the sun and convert it into chemical energy, which is stored in the bonds of glucose molecules (Gregory, 2006). This process, known as photosynthesis is used by plants in which carbon dioxide, water and light energy are utilized to manufacture glucose and a by product of oxygen.
6CO2 + 6H2O + (light energy) C6H12O6 + 6O2
As visible in the above equation the two byproducts of photosynthesis are glucose and oxygen. The plants do not use all of the oxygen, and instead circulate it into the environment.
Light is a form of energy. The colour of light our eyes see is the colour that is not absorbed, but reflected. Visible light is the only form of electromagnetic waves human eyes can see. When white light is shined through a prism, it splits into the colours of the visible light spectrum. Each colour has a different wavelength. Ultraviolet light (UV) has shorter wavelengths than red which has long wavelengths.
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J. Stein Carter (2004), Photosynthesis, accessed 20th March 2010, http://biology.clc.uc.edu/Courses/Bio104/photosyn.htm
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Michael McDarby (2010), Biology of Animals and Plants, accessed 16th March 2010, http://faculty.fmcc.edu/mcdarby/Animals&PlantsBook/Plants/01-Photosynthesis.htm#Light%20features
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