What is the general equation for photosynthesis?

The general equation for photosynthesis is CO2 + 2H2A + photons -> [CH2O]+ 2A + H2O.

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Photosynthesis is the process by which plants and other organisms like cyanobacteria convert energy from light to chemical energy. This allows energy in the form of solar radiation that is received by the Earth to be used for powering the metabolic activities of the organisms. It also leads to the creation of sugars and more complex starches that are eaten by other organisms not capable of photosynthesis to sustain their metabolic activities.

Cornelis van Niel, a Dutch-American microbiologist, proposed the following equation for photosynthesis:

CO2 + 2H2A + photons -> [CH2O]+ 2A + H2O.

Most photosynthesis on Earth is based on water being the compound that provides the oxygen molecule. The above equation can be written as

CO2 + H2O + photons -> [CH2O] + O2.

In plants, photosynthesis has an efficiency of 3–6%. Scientists have been able to develop more efficient ways of converting solar radiation to electricity using solar panels that have achieved efficiencies as high as 40%. But as solar panels only convert solar radiation to electricity, there is no creation of organic compounds that can serve as food. Storage of this electrical energy for subsequent use again reduces the total efficiency. Photosynthesis is also the only source of oxygen, which is essential for the survival of almost all the species on Earth.

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