Describe the relationship in plant cells between photosynthesis and respiration.

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trophyhunter1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Essentially, these are opposite processes. In photosynthesis, a plant uses its chlorophyll, a green pigment found in its chloroplasts to capture the sun's energy. It then uses this energy for the process of photosynthesis. In the light-dependent reaction, water absorbed from the roots and transported by vascular tissue to the leaves,  is split into hydrogen and oxygen, and the oxygen is released into the atmosphere via the stomates. In the light--independent reaction, the hydrogen plus the carbon dioxide which enters the leaf through the stomates combine and carbon fixation occurs, forming a molecule of glucose, along with more water which can leave through the stomates as water vapor. In this case, inorganic compounds--water and carbon dioxide are joined to form an organic compound, glucose, which is chemical or stored energy which can be used when it is needed by the plant to carry out life processes. Respiration on the other hand occurs in the mitochondria within plant cells. It utilizes the glucose made by the plant during photosynthesis and when it is combined with oxygen, 36 ATP are released for the cell to use for energy. The wastes that are produced are water and carbon dioxide--the two substances the plant requires for photosynthesis. 

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