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Unit 5: Cell Energies- First set: Photosynthesis


plant capable of synthesizing its own food from simple organic substances


an organism that depends on complex organic substances for nutrition

Light Reactions

reactions of photosynthesis that use energy from light to produce ATP and NADPH


organelles that capture the energy from sunlight and convert it into chemical energy in a process called photosynthesis


A flattened membrane sac inside the chloroplast, used to convert light energy into chemical energy.


a stack of thylakoids in a chloroplast


The fluid of the chloroplast surrounding the thylakoid membrane; involved in the synthesis of organic molecules from carbon dioxide and water.


Light-absorbing molecule


green pigment in plants that absorbs light energy used to carry out photosynthesis


An accessory pigment, either yellow or orange, in the chloroplasts of plants. By absorbing wavelengths of light that chlorophyll cannot, carotenoids broaden the spectrum of colors that can drive 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

A specialized molecule sharing the reaction center with the pair of reaction-center chlorophyll a molecules; it accepts an electron from one of these two chlorophylls.

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

Calvin cycle

The second of two major stages in photosynthesis (following the light reactions), involving atmospheric CO2 fixation and reduction of the fixed carbon into carbohydrate.

Carbon fixation

The incorporation of carbon from carbon dioxide into an organic compound by an autotrophic organism.


the small openings on the undersides of most leaves through which oxygen and carbon dioxide can move

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; CAM plants take in carbon at night and fix it into various organic compounds and release it during the day

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