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Significance of Photosynthesis and Photorespiration

Photosynthesis and photorespiration are two biological processes, which occur in all vascular plants. Both photosynthesis and photorespiration undergo light reaction and energy is produced in plants.

What is Photosynthesis?

Photosynthesis is a physicochemical process that uses sunlight for the synthesis of organic compounds. It is one of the fundamental processes that occur on earth and the primary food source in plants. The photosynthesis process occurs in the chloroplast, which is found in the leaves’ mesophyll cells. Chlorophyll a, Chlorophyll b, Xanthophylls and Carotenoids are four pigments involved in photosynthesis.

The process of photosynthesis can be divided into two: light reaction and dark reaction. During the process of photosynthesis, oxygen is released as a by-product. The energy obtained from this process can be used to produce ATP – Adenosine Triphosphate.

What is Photorespiration?

Photorespiration is also known as the C2 cycle as it involves loss of fixed carbon as carbon dioxide in plants. The chemical processes that occur in peroxisomes, where the enzyme RuBisCO oxygenates RuBP with the release of carbon dioxide. This biological process occurs only in C3 plants and occurs only during the hot, dry day and when the level of carbon dioxide gas is low inside the leaf.

The photorespiration pathway occurs in three cell organelles- chloroplast, peroxisomes and mitochondria. Photorespiration prevents excess loss of water through stomata and limits the damaging product of the light reaction of photosynthesis.

Other factors affecting photorespiration include carbon dioxide level, water stress conditions, light intensity, etc.

We are all aware of the process of photosynthesis and photorespiration in plants. Let us learn some significance of the photosynthesis in higher plants.

Photosynthesis and Photorespiration – Significances

  1. Photosynthesis plays a vital role in the existence of the vast majority of life on Earth.
  2. Photosynthesis is the main food source for the primary consumer, which gains energy by directly feeding on the producer – the plants.
  3. Photosynthesis is also responsible for the production of oxygen, which most organisms need for their survival.
  4. Photorespiration involves loss of fixed carbon as carbon dioxide in plants in the presence of light.
  5. Photorespiration helps in the dispersion or spread of energy during the daytime, where stomata are closed because of water stress.
  6. Photorespiration assists plants from photo-oxidative damage, which is caused by dissipating excess of excitation energy.

This concludes the introduction to photosynthesis, photorespiration and their significance. Stay tuned with BYJU’S to learn more about photosynthesis, photorespiration, process, differences and other related topics.

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