Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Life Sciences
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: September 1, 1998
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Photosynthesis is the process by which higher plants, algae and certain species of bacteria transform and store solar energy in the form of energy-rich organic molecules. These compounds are in turn used as the energy source of all growth and reproduction in plants. As such, virtually all life on the planet ultimately depends on photosynthetic energy conversion. This overview chapter emphasizes the conceptual framework on which our current understanding of photosynthesis is based. The focus is primarily on the chloroplast where the basic biochemistry and biophysics of photosynthesis occurs within the cells of higher plants. We have two goals: 1) to introduce the players, that is the component processes of photosynthesis, and 2) to trace the transformations of energy that are central to understanding the basic principles of the photosynthetic process.