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Experiment: An experiment to investigate the effect of light intensity
on the rate of photosynthsis.
Aim: We will be trying to see if light intensity has an effect on the
rate of photosynthsis.
Introduction: Photosynthesis is the process that produces 'food' for
plants, this 'food' is called glucose. The process takes place in the
leaves of green plants, this is what the leaves are for. There are
four things that are required by the plant before it can carry out
photosynthesis, they are light, chlorophyll, carbon dioxide and water
. Chlorophyll is the green substance found in chloroplasts and this is
why leaves look green. The chlorophyll is very important because it
makes the whole process occur. It absorbs the energy from the sunlight
and uses it to combine CO2 and water to produce glucose. Oxygen is
given off as a by- product. The structure of a leaf is also very
important as it is designed to obtain as much CO2 as possible.
There are three features that makes the structure of the leaf unique.
1. They are very thin and flat to provide a large surface so it can
soak up lots of sunlight.
2. The palisade cells are arranged near the top of the leaf and are
full of chloroplasts, essential for photosynthsis.
3. The guard cells, on the bottom layer, control the amount of gas
movement in and out of the leaf.
There is a formula that lets us know the rate of photosynthsis, it is:
Carbon Dioxide + Water ® (sunlight +chlorophyll) ® Glucose + Oxygen.
6CO2 + 6H2O ® (sunlight + chlorophyll) ® C6H12O6 + 6O2.
The rate of photosynthsis can be altered by three factors which are
the amount of light, carbon dioxide and the temperature. The reason
why the amount of light is important is because the chlorophyll uses
light energy so it can only produce glucose as fast as it is receiving
sunlight. Carbon dioxide is always in short supply because only 0.
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of it is in the air, so it is usually the limiting factor in the rate
of photosynthsis. Chlorophyll is like an enzyme and works when it is
warm, but if it gets too hot the enzyme will be destroyed and the rate
of photosynthsis will slow down and eventually stop.
Preliminary Work: In preparation for this experiment we made sure that
the plant had been cut cleanly and straight along the top of the
stalk. My reasons for doing this, was this made it easier for the
oxygen, that is the by-product of photosynthesis, to escape from the
plant. Also we made sure that the lamp was at the right distance from
the plant to ensure that it can produce photosynthesis.
Apparatus: In this experiment the apparatus we used was a meter ruler,
lamp, stop watch, test tube, test tube rack, plant and sodium
Method: We first took a test tube and filled it with sodium
hydrocarbonate and then placed the plant inside the tube. We then
placed the test tube into the rack, then we slid the metre ruler under
the rack allowing the test tube to be above 0cm. Next we placed the
lamp beside the ruler at 5cm and switched it on making sure that the
plant received direct light from the lamp. Then for 1 minute we
counted the number of bubbles coming out of the stalk for three
minutes. We repeated this exercise five more times, each time moving
the lamp 5cm from the plant.