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an organism that produces its own nutrients from inorganic substances or from the environment instead of consuming other organisms


the process by which plants, algae, and some bacteria use sunlight, carbon dioxide and water to to produce carbohydrates and oxygen


an organism that obtains organic food molecules by eating other organisms or their byproducts and that cannot synthesize organic compounds from inorganic materials

Light Reactions

the initial reactions in photosynthesis, which are triggered by the absorbtion of light by photosystems I and II and include the passage of electrons along the electron transport chains, the production of NADPH and oxygen gas, and the synthesis of ATP through chemiosmosis

Calvin Cycle

a biochemical pathway of photosynthesis in which carbon dioxide is converted into glucose using ATP


an organelle found in plant and algae cells where photosynthesis occurs


a membrane system found within chloroplasts that contains the components for photosynthesis


a stack of thylakoids in a chloroplast


in plants, the solution that surrounds the thylakoids in a chloroplast


a substance that gives another substance or mixture its color


a green pigment that is present in most plant cells, that gives plants their characteristic green color, and that reacts with sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water to form carbohydrates


a class of pigments that are present in the thylakoid membrane of plants and that aid in photosynthesis


in the thylakoid membranes of chloroplasts, a cluster of chlorophyll and other pigment molecules that harvest light energy for the light reactions of photosynthesis

Primary Electron Acceptor

in chloroplasts, an acceptor of electrons lost from chlorophyll a; found in the thylakoid membrane

Electron Transport Chain

a series of molecules, found in the inner membranes of mitochondria and chloroplasts, through which electrons pass in a process that causes protons to build up on one side of the membrane


in chloroplasts and mitochondria, a process in which the movement of protons down their concentration gradient across a membrane is coupled to the synthesis of ATP

Carbon Fixation

the synthesis of organic compounds from carbon dioxide, such as in photosynthesis


one of many openings in a leaf or a stem of a plant that enable gas exchange to occur

C4 pathway

a carbon-fixing process in which carbon dioxide is bound to a compound to form a four-carbon intermediate

CAM pathway

a water-conserving, carbon-fixing process; ____ plants take in carbon at night and fix it into various organic compounds and release it during the day

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