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AP Biology Chapter 8 Photosynthesis, energy from sunlight


synthesis of compounds with the aid of radiant energy (especially in plants)

Light reactions

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

Light-independent reactions

phase of photosynthesis where energy form light dependent reactions is used to produced glucose and additional ATP molecules

Electromagnetic radiation

radiation consisting of waves of energy associated with electric and magnetic fields resulting from the acceleration of an electric charge


light quanta


the distance (measured in the direction of propagation) between two points in the same phase in consecutive cycles of a wave


the mental state of being preoccupied by something

Ground state

(physics) the lowest energy state of an atom or other particle

Excited state

a state in which an atom has a higher potential energy than it has in its ground state


molecules that absorb specific wavelengths of sunlight

Absorption spectrum

The range of a pigment's ability to absorb various wavelengths of light.

Action spectrum

the efficiency with which electromagnetic radiation produces a photochemical reaction plotted as a function of the wavelength of the radiation


the most common and important photosynthetic pigments in plants and algae

Accessory pigments

Pigment that absorbs light at different wavelengths and then pass energy onto chlorophyll


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.


good at absorbing blue light

Antenna systems

light harvesting complexes; absorbs energy and forms part of a photosystem

Reaction center

Complex of proteins associated with two special chlorophyll a molecules and a primary electron acceptor. Located centrally in a photosystem, this complex triggers the light reactions of photosynthesis. Excited by light energy, one of the chlorophylls donates an electron to the primary electron acceptor, which passes an electron to an electron transport chain.


Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate, an acceptor that temporarily stores energized electrons produced during the light reactions.

Non electron transport

the linear flow of electrons through photosystems I and II; results in the formation of ATP (by chemiosmosis), NADPH, and O2


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

Z scheme

a model depicting the series of energy changes of an electron during the light reactions of photosynthesis. The electron absorbs light energy twice, resulting in an energy curve with a zigzag shape


an iron sulfur protein that acts as another mobile electron carrier of the pathway; then transfers to the NADP+ reductase

Cyclic electron transport

In photosynthesis, the cyclic flow of electrons through Photosystem I; ATP is formed by chemiosmosis, but no photolysis of water occurs, and O2 and NADPH are not produced.


Transports the protons to the lumen of the thylakoid discs ,while the electrons continue through the chain into the cytochrome bf6 protein complex


acts as an electron carrier between the cytochrome b6f and photosystem 1 (PS1) complexes in the photosynthetic electron-transfer chain.

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.

Ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate

the final phase of the calvin cycle is the regeneration of _____ ____

Ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase



an oxidoreductase that catalyzes the incorporation of molecular oxygen


This enzyme catalyzes the addition of a -COO-, or the addition of an acid group.


A metabolic pathway that consumes oxygen, releases carbon dioxide, generates no ATP, and decreases photosynthetic output; generally occurs on hot, dry, bright days, when stomata close and the oxygen concentration in the leaf exceeds that of carbon dioxide.


The ground tissue of a leaf, sandwiched between the upper and lower epidermis and specialized for photosynthesis.


The last reaction of glycolysis produces more ATP by transferring the phosphate group PEP to ADP., second energy rich compound in glycolysis; its dephosphorylation can be coupled to ATP production

PEP carboxylase

An enzyme that adds CO2 to phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP) to form oxaloacetate in C4 plants. It acts prior to photosynthesis.

Bundle sheath cells

A type of photosynthetic cell arranged into tightly packed sheaths around the veins of a leaf.

Crassulacean acid metabolism

An adaptation for photosynthesis in arid conditions, first discovered in the family Crassulaceae. In this process, a plant takes up CO2 and incorporates it into a variety of organic acids at night; during the day, CO2 is released from organic acids for use in the Calvin cycle.

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