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Chloroplasts and photosynthesis
3.1 Why organisms undergo photosynthesis and how chloroplasts are adapted for their function

Photosynthesis: what is it?
Photosynthesis is a process whereby light energy is converted to chemical energy which can be used to synthesis large,
organic molecules from smaller, inorganic substrates. Plants and other organisms…

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Above: transmission electron microscopic image (TEM) of a plant cell chloroplast (x50,000)

Photosynthetic pigments and photosystems
Embedded in the thylakoid membrane among grana are coloured compounds which absorb light of a short range of
wavelengths and reflect light of other wavelengths. These are called photosynthetic pigments. A photosynthetic pigment

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chlorophyll b

rate of photosynthesis
%age absorption

chlorophyll a

400 500 600 700 400 500 600 700
wavelength of light (nm) wavelength of light (nm)

The graph to the left above shows the absorption spectra for photosynthetic pigments, and the diagram to the right
above shows the action spectrum…


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