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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Describe the Calvin cycle
  • Define carbon fixation
  • Explain how photosynthesis works in the energy cycle of all living organisms

After the energy from the sun is converted into chemical energy and temporarily stored in ATP and NADPH molecules, the cell has the fuel needed to build carbohydrate molecules for long-term energy storage. The products of the light-dependent reactions, ATP and NADPH, have lifespans in the range of millionths of seconds, whereas the products of the light-independent reactions (carbohydrates and other forms of reduced carbon) can survive for hundreds of millions of years. The carbohydrate molecules made will have a backbone of carbon atoms. Where does the carbon come from? It comes from carbon dioxide, the gas that is a waste product of respiration in microbes, fungi, plants, and animals.

The calvin cycle

In plants, carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) enters the leaves through stomata, where it diffuses over short distances through intercellular spaces until it reaches the mesophyll cells. Once in the mesophyll cells, CO 2 diffuses into the stroma of the chloroplast—the site of light-independent reactions of photosynthesis. These reactions actually have several names associated with them. Another term, the Calvin cycle    , is named for the man who discovered it, and because these reactions function as a cycle. Others call it the Calvin-Benson cycle to include the name of another scientist involved in its discovery. The most outdated name is dark reactions, because light is not directly required ( [link] ). However, the term dark reaction can be misleading because it implies incorrectly that the reaction only occurs at night or is independent of light, which is why most scientists and instructors no longer use it.

This illustration shows that ATP and NADPH produced in the light reactions are used in the Calvin cycle to make sugar.
Light reactions harness energy from the sun to produce chemical bonds, ATP, and NADPH. These energy-carrying molecules are made in the stroma where carbon fixation takes place.

The light-independent reactions of the Calvin cycle can be organized into three basic stages: fixation, reduction, and regeneration.

Stage 1: fixation

In the stroma, in addition to CO 2 , two other components are present to initiate the light-independent reactions: an enzyme called ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RuBisCO), and three molecules of ribulose bisphosphate (RuBP), as shown in [link] . RuBP has five atoms of carbon, flanked by two phosphates.

Art connection

A diagram of the Calvin cycle is shown with its three stages: carbon fixation, 3-PGA reduction, and regeneration of RuBP. In stage 1, the enzyme RuBisCO adds a carbon dioxide to the five-carbon molecule RuBP, producing two three-carbon 3-PGA molecules. In stage 2, two NADPH and two ATP are used to reduce 3-PGA to GA3P. In stage 3 RuBP is regenerated from GA3P. One ATP is used in the process. Three complete cycles produces one new GA3P, which is shunted out of the cycle and made into glucose (C6H12O6).
The Calvin cycle has three stages. In stage 1, the enzyme RuBisCO incorporates carbon dioxide into an organic molecule, 3-PGA. In stage 2, the organic molecule is reduced using electrons supplied by NADPH. In stage 3, RuBP, the molecule that starts the cycle, is regenerated so that the cycle can continue. Only one carbon dioxide molecule is incorporated at a time, so the cycle must be completed three times to produce a single three-carbon GA3P molecule, and six times to produce a six-carbon glucose molecule.

Which of the following statements is true?

  1. In photosynthesis, oxygen, carbon dioxide, ATP, and NADPH are reactants. GA3P and water are products.
  2. In photosynthesis, chlorophyll, water, and carbon dioxide are reactants. GA3P and oxygen are products.
  3. In photosynthesis, water, carbon dioxide, ATP, and NADPH are reactants. RuBP and oxygen are products.
  4. In photosynthesis, water and carbon dioxide are reactants. GA3P and oxygen are products.

Questions & Answers

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The people living within a political or geographical boundary.
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the price goes down and quantity demanded increases
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the revenge of malthus relates "revenge" with "commodity prices". collect data for 3 commodoties and check their price evolution
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Elasticity is an economics concept that measures responsiveness of one variable to changes in another variable.
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Source:  OpenStax, Bio 351 university of texas. OpenStax CNX. Dec 31, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11943/1.1
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