How is solar energy stored in plants | Practical Explanation
How is Solar Energy Stored in Plants? one of the basic questions that man tries to understand and answer seeing that plants are at the top of the food chain.
The sun or solar energy is the most plentiful source of energy we have, it is about 4.6 billion years old, with another 5 billion years of hydrogen fuel to burn in its lifetime.
Solar energy, the energy that’s involved in nearly every other response that goes on on the face of the earth. The uses of solar energy can not be overemphasized.
From providing sunlight for human survival, lighting our light bulbs heating and even cooling the earth and water surface, we can also convert it to electricity to power anything from campervans to suburban homes to shops, to industrial process and also, the major factor for photosynthesis to occur.
In recent times, there has been further use to man which include employing solar energy as renewable energy for electrification and other energy operation. One of the introductory uses of solar energy in the solar system is the use of solar energy in the growth of plants by the process we can call Photosynthesis.
So to answer the question of how is solar energy stored in plants? We can simply hypothesise by saying solar energy is stored in plants through the process known as photosynthesis. You would have to read through to prove if our hypothesis is correct or wrong.
Why do Plants Store Solar Energy?
Plants are the producers we’ve in the food chain and during the photosynthesis-the process by which plants produce food, plants trap light energy with their leaves. This energy that’s trapped aids the growth of the plant.
They also use the energy of the sun to change water and carbon dioxide into a sugar called glucose.
Glucose is used by plants for energy and to make other substances like cellulose and starch. Cellulose is used to build cell walls. Starch is stored in seeds and other plant parts as a food source. That is why some foods that we eat, like rice and grains, are packed with starch.
The rest is stored and then transported to a consumer when being consumed by another plant, animal or human. That’s to say, energy stored during photosynthesis begins the inflow of energy and carbon down the food chain.
Again, we can think of where the oxygen we inhale comes from. 20% of the oxygen we breathe comes from plants. the rest though still undergo photosynthesis are not usually classified as plants. These are little tiny or microscopic phytoplanktons located in the oceans.
Do all plants Store Solar Energy?
Yes. All Plants store solar energy like solar energy is what’s demanded their survival. Photosynthesis which answers the question, “how is solar energy is stored in plants?” is needed for the survival and growth of plants so, for plants to survive, they need to store solar energy.
How is Solar Energy Stored in Plants?
It’s most popular for everyone to be talking about solar energy in other contests like using solar energy as a renewable energy source for the production of electricity, but let’s see, how is solar energy stored in plants?
The part of the electromagnetic spectrum of the solar energy that is stored and used by plants for photosynthesis during other chemical and physical processes in the plants is the little slice of the visible light spectrum.
Now, how plants capture this light is with pigment molecules like chlorophyll A which absorbs blue-violet and reed, reflecting green colour, chlorophyll B which absorb blue and orange and reflects the green colour and other pigments like beta carotene which give plants like carrots their colour.
According to the absorbance spectra of different pigments, you will see that they all peak in different places allowing for photosynthetic organisms to be very efficient in their capturing of different wavelengths, but most photosynthetic pigments have a low absorbance at the green region of the wavelength (500-600).
So, plants do not use green light very efficiently at all and that is why green is being transmitted and reflected and that’s why plants show green or let’s say that is why chlorophyll has the green colour.
solar energy is stored in plants by what we simply know as photosynthesis.
Now, to show that solar energy is necessary for photosynthesis, we will follow a practical example.
- Healthy potted plant
- watch glass
- Test tube
- Two beakers with water
- Iodine solution
- Black papers
- Bunsen burner
- Tripod stand with wire gauze
- Take a healthy potted plant and keep it in a dark room for 24 hours,
- After 24 hours, cover one of its leaves on the upper and lower sides with black paper Pieces,
- Put the plant in sunlight for 3 to 4 hours,
- After 3 to 4 hours, pluck the leaf that you covered with black paper pieces and remove the black paper pieces on it,
- Boil the leaf in water to kill it,
- After boiling the leaf in water, boil it again in alcohol,
- When done, wash the leaf in cold water and place it in a watch glass,
- Now, pour some drops of iodine solution over it
The leaf which has been exposed to sunlight will turn blue, and there is no change of colour in the remaining part
This shows that sunlight is necessary for photosynthesis.
Now, what is photosynthesis?
This is the process that allows all of life to live, effects would not be suitable to carry out any process involving energy without carrying the chemical energy stored by photosynthetic organisms in sugars. Still, the factual process of photosynthesis is complicated.
Photosynthesis takes place in the chloroplasts of plants. Just a square millimetre of a leaf contain chloroplasts! The chloroplast is responsible for a plants colour and contains green chlorophyll colours as well as red, orange, or yellow carotenoid colours.
Since these colours can only absorb light energy that’s a specific colour, green chlorophyll colours absorb the more important blue to violet sun rays and reflect green, while carotenoid colours absorb the less important green sun rays and reflect yellow or red.
Did you know this is actually why plants change colours during the different seasons? When the sun isn’t as strong in a region that’s in the fall or spring season, the green chlorophylls can’t use the less important light, so the plants return to using carotenoid colours to extend the process of photosynthesis until winter.
The differently coloured carotenoid colours take over and beget the brilliant red, orange, and yellow coloured plants. A bunch of chlorophyll and carotenoid colours work together and form an “ antenna complex”. the first of these complexes is photosystem 2, which has numerous colours connected to a response centre.
These colours become unstable when photons from the sun strike them. They also transfer the imbalance to a response centre. In the response centre, a patch known as pheophytin receives the imbalance and has to give up some electrons, which pass to a series of responses known as the Electron Transport Chain.
During the time of transfer, electrons from H2O molecules replace the lost electrons of pheophytin and are taken by separating the oxygen atom from its Hydrogen atoms.
The oxygen is released into the atmosphere and the Hydrogens are placed in a temporary spot. The hydrogen in this temporary spot is a veritably important part of Photosynthesis that we’ll get in a little while.
The electron transport chain ultimately dumps redundant electrons taken from pheophytin into an alternate “antenna complex” called Photosystem 1 that acts analogous to the last photosystem but powers these ditched electrons in the response centre rather.
The electrons are used to make NADPH, which has an important part in making sugar.
First, let’s get back to the Hydrogens put into a temporary spot. The temporary spot houses numerous of these Hydrogen atoms, which want to go to an area where they’re less concentrated. Thus, the chloroplasts only let the Hydrogens move through a small hole to the outside that has a pump connected to it.
The motion of the Hydrogens crossing over generates energy in the form of ATP, analogous to how hydroelectric dams use water flowing through them to spin energy generators.
ATP molecules have large atoms that don’t like being next to each other and are constantly pushing each other away, so cells could use the energy of the atoms flying away from each other when ATP molecules are broken for energy.
But ATP isn’t veritably stable, so plants take in CO2 and use the NADPH from Photosystem 1 to convert the energy into sugars, which also have atoms that are pushing each other down. This sugar manufacturing stores the energy of the sun and allows all-biological life to occur.
So, the next time you burn a piece of wood or eat some spaghetti, remember that you’re using the energy stored from the sun.
- Where is Solar Energy Stored in Photosynthesis?
Photosynthesis is a very complex and biochemical pathway involving several chemical reactions.
But ultimately converts light energy, water and carbon dioxide into sugar and oxygen which is released into the atmosphere and the sugars are also processed stored as glucose, sucrose and starches, carbon dioxide reacts with ribose 1,5 bisphosphate the rubisco enzyme.
Ultimately, it synthesizes glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate out of the Calvin cycle and by that the sugars can get converted into glucose, sucrose or stored as polymers of sugar called starch. Some sugars go through the glycolysis steps whereby they enter the TCA cycle and oxidative phosphorylation to ultimately create a large amount of ATP which are used in the cell for various other pathways.
So, the energy that comes from light energy is converted into sugars and oxygen which those sugars are stored into various types and used for subsequent pathways that the cell needs for growth and survival.
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