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Describes the role of the leaf in photosynthesis.

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Photosynthesis: In The Leaf

What is Photosynthesis?

Photosynthesis is the way plants make sugar/food and oxygen with the use of sunlight. If you break down the name, the name explains exactly what it is.

                                                        Photo     -   Synthesis
                                                        (light)           (to make)

The equation for photosynthesis is:

                           6 CO2 + 6 H2O + Sunlight ------> C6H12O6 + 6 O2

What do Plants Need for Photosynthesis?

There are three raw materials needed for photosynthesis and they include:

  • Water ( which is why we water plants)
  • Sunlight (which is why we place plants by a window)
  • Carbon Dioxide.

What do Plants Make From Photosynthesis?

Plants produce two products from photosynthesis. Both plants and animals (INCLUDING YOU!) need:

  • Glucose (Sugar)
  • Oxygen 

Where Does Photosynthesis Occur?

Photosynthesis occurs in the leaf.

  • Leaves are broad and flat so they can absorb sunlight like a solar panel. 


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  • Leaves are FILLED with photosynthetic machines  called chloroplasts. Chloroplasts are green organelles inside the cells that produce glucose. There are many chloroplasts located on the inside of the leaf.


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  • Leaves also have openings called stoma that allow the entry of carbon dioxide into the leaf. They also release of oxygen into the atmosphere. 
  • Lastly, leaves have vascular tissue(vessels) that deliver materials such as water to the leaf.  Vessels also take away materials like glucose away from the leaf to distribute glucose to the rest of the plant.


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How Is The Leaf Structured for Photosynthesis?


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  • Mesophyll:the middle layer of the leaf that makes up most of the leaf’s interior. This is where photosynthesis occurs. The mesophyll is composed of:
    • Palisades Layer: A densely packed part of the leaf that have the majority of chloroplasts needed for photsynthesis.
    • Spongy Layer: A loosely packed layer that allows the diffusion of gas through out the leaf for photosynthesis. 
  • Vascular Tissue:  are made primarily of:
    •  Xylem: Vessels that transports water to the leaves for photosynthesis.
    •  Phloem: Vessels that carries away sugar from the leaf. 
  • The epidermisis a layer of cells that makes up the:
    • Upper Epidermis: A top layer of tightly-packed dermal cells. They secrete waxy layer called the cuticle to prevent evaporation of water from the leaf.
    • Lower Epidermis: A bottom layer of tightly-packed dermal cells. This layer has openings called stomata that allow CO2 to enter the leaf and O2 to exit the leaf.

How Do The Layers Of The Leaf Carry Out Photosynthesis.

Lesson Check: Photosynthesis in the Leaf.

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