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The simple story of photosynthesis and food - Amanda Ooten

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Photosynthesis is an essential part of the exchange between humans and plants. Amanda Ooten walks us through the process of photosynthesis, also discussing the relationship between photosynthesis and carbohydrates, starch, and fiber -- and how the air we breathe is related to the food we ingest.

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  • Educator Amanda Ooten
  • Director Glen Steinmacher
  • Narrator Amanda Ooten

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Additional Resources for you to Explore
Chlorophyll (also chlorophyl) is a green pigment found in cyanobacteria and the chloroplasts of algae and plants. Its name is derived from the Greek words chloros ("green") and phyllon ("leaf"). Chlorophyll is an extremely important biomolecule, critical in photosynthesis, which allows plants to absorb energy from light.
Chloroplasts are specialized organelles found in all higher plant cells. These organelles contain the plant cell's chlorophyll responsible for the plant's green color and the ability to absorb energy from sunlight. This energy is used to convert water plus atmospheric carbon dioxide into metabolizable sugars by the biochemical process of photosynthesis. Chloroplasts have a double outer membrane.
Stomata are minute aperture structures on plants found typically on the outer leaf skin layer, also known as the epidermis. They consist of two specialized cells called guard cells that surround a tiny pore called a stoma.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a slightly toxic, odorless, colorless gas with a slightly pungent, acidic taste. Carbon dioxide is a small but important constituent of air. It is a necessary raw material for most plants, which remove carbon dioxide from air using the process of photosynthesis.
Glucose is a carbohydrate and is the most important simple sugar in human metabolism. Glucose is called a simple sugar or a monosaccharide because it is one of the smallest units which has the characteristics of this class of carbohydrates. Glucose is also sometimes called dextrose. Corn syrup is primarily glucose. Glucose is one of the primary molecules which serve as energy sources for plants and animals.
Cellulose is a long chain of linked sugar molecules that gives wood its remarkable strength. It is the main component of plant cell walls, and the basic building block for many textiles and for paper.
Plants store glucose as the polysaccharide starch. The cereal grains (wheat, rice, corn, oats, barley) as well as tubers such as potatoes are rich in starch.
Mitochondria are the cell's power producers. They convert energy into forms that are usable by thecell. Located in the cytoplasm, they are the sites of cellular respiration which ultimately generates fuel for the cell's activities. Mitochondria are also involved in other cell processes such as cell divisionand growth, as well as cell death.
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is a nucleoside triphosphate used in cells as a coenzyme. It is often called the "molecular unit of currency" of intracellularenergy transfer. ATP transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism.
Here's a video explaining photosynthesis.
There are 2 types of carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates and simple carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are considered simple or complex based upon their chemical structure.
Most people probably have a general idea of what a cell is, but they might not realize all of the functions that go on inside of these microscopic spaces. Every cell has small organelles within it that perform different tasks.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animation lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Amanda Ooten
  • Director Glen Steinmacher
  • Narrator Amanda Ooten

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