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Definition of PHOTOSYNTHESIS
: synthesis of chemical compounds with the aid of radiant energy and especially light; especially: formation of carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and a source of hydrogen (as water) in the chlorophyll-containing cells (as of green plants) exposed to light
: synthesis of chemical compounds with the aid of light sometimes including the near infrared or near ultraviolet; especially: the formation of carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and a source of hydrogen (as water) in chlorophyll-containing cells (as of green plants) exposed to light involving a photochemical release of oxygen through the decomposition of water followed by various enzymatic synthetic reactions that usually do not require the presence of light
—pho·to·syn·the·size\-ˌsīz\ (audio pronunciation)also Britishpho·to·syn·the·siseintransitive verb, pho·to·syn·the·sizedalso British ; pho·to·syn·the·sised; pho·to·syn·the·siz·ingalso British ; pho·to·syn·the·sis·ing
Process by which green plants and certain other organisms transform light into chemical energy. In green plants, light energy is captured by chlorophyll in the chloroplasts of the leaves and used to convert water, carbon dioxide, and minerals into oxygen and energy-rich organic compounds (simple and complex sugars) that are the basis of both plant and animal life. Photosynthesis consists of a number of photochemical and enzymatic reactions. It occurs in two stages. During the light-dependent stage (light reaction), chlorophyll absorbs light energy, which excites some electrons in the pigment molecules to higher energy levels; these leave the chlorophyll and pass along a series of molecules, generating formation of NADPH (an enzyme) and high-energy ATP molecules. Oxygen, released as a by-product, passes into the atmosphere through pores in the leaves. NADPH and ATP drive the second stage, the dark reaction (or Calvin cycle, discovered by Melvin Calvin), which does not require light. During this stage glucose is generated using atmospheric carbon dioxide. Photosynthesis is crucial for maintaining life on Earth; if it ceased, there would soon be little food or other organic matter on the planet, and most types of organisms would disappear.