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The importance of photosynthesis

Autotrophs are organisms that use light energy or chemical energy and inorganic molecules to synthesise complex organic molecules.

Heterotrophs are organisms that ingest and digest complex organic molecules, releasing the chemical potential energy stored in them.

Chemoautotrophs are prokaryotes that synthesise complex organic molecules using energy derived from exergonic chemical reactions.

Photoautotrophs are organisms that can photosynthesise.

Both photoautotrophs and heterotrophs can release chemical potential energy in complex organic molecules, this is respiration.

This equation summarises the process of photosynthesis:

6CO2 + 6H2O -> C6H12O6 + 6O2

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