Which Molecule Is Used Up In Photosynthesis

The Process of Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis is a vital process that occurs in plants, algae, and some bacteria. It is the process by which these organisms convert light energy into chemical energy in the form of glucose. During this process, carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O) are used up to produce glucose and oxygen (O2).

The Role of Carbon Dioxide in Photosynthesis

Carbon dioxide is a crucial molecule that is used up in photosynthesis. Plants take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through small openings on their leaves called stomata. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the main raw materials needed for the process of photosynthesis to occur.

  • Carbon dioxide is essential for the Calvin cycle, also known as the light-independent reactions of photosynthesis.
  • During the Calvin cycle, carbon dioxide is converted into glucose with the help of energy from sunlight.
  • Plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen as a byproduct during photosynthesis.

The Importance of Water in Photosynthesis

Water is another critical molecule used up in photosynthesis. Plants absorb water from the soil through their roots and transport it to the leaves where photosynthesis takes place. Water (H2O) plays a crucial role in the following ways:

  • Water molecules are split during the light-dependent reactions of photosynthesis to release oxygen.
  • Water provides hydrogen atoms necessary for the formation of glucose during the Calvin cycle.
  • Water helps maintain the turgidity and structure of plant cells.

The Molecules Used Up in Photosynthesis

In photosynthesis, both carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O) are used up to produce glucose and oxygen. The overall chemical equation for photosynthesis is:

6CO2 + 6H2O + light energy → C6H12O6 + 6O2

This equation shows that carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O) are the primary molecules consumed during photosynthesis to produce glucose and oxygen.

Other Factors Affecting Photosynthesis

While carbon dioxide and water are the main molecules used up in photosynthesis, several other factors can affect the process:

  • Light intensity: Photosynthesis requires light energy to drive the process. Higher light intensity can increase the rate of photosynthesis.
  • Temperature: Photosynthesis is temperature-sensitive, with optimal temperatures varying for different plants. Extreme temperatures can inhibit photosynthesis.
  • Availability of nutrients: Minerals and nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are essential for plant growth and photosynthesis.
  • Presence of enzymes: Enzymes play a crucial role in facilitating the biochemical reactions involved in photosynthesis.
  • Oxygen concentration: High levels of oxygen can inhibit photosynthesis by competing with carbon dioxide for binding to enzymes.


In conclusion, carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O) are the molecules used up in photosynthesis to produce glucose and oxygen. Without these essential raw materials, the process of photosynthesis cannot occur, and plants would be unable to synthesize their own food. Understanding the role of these molecules in photosynthesis is crucial for appreciating the significance of this fundamental process in sustaining life on Earth.

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