Pharmacognosy - medicinal plants (herbs)

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Theme IV: Photosynthesis


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What photosynthesis is?

The animal kingdom is unable of synthesize carbon compounds involved in its metabolism, this biochemical process is reserved to plants that develop a process called photosynthesis.


In photosynthesis, the carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere is become to these carbon chains by reaction with the water absorbed by the plant roots, after the incidence of light rays.


These substances are accumulated as primary energy and all the terrestrial biosphere depends on them. These organic compounds derived from these reactions are the starting substances for the biochemical transformations of planet´s life. The organics products of photosynthesis are the starting materials for the synthesis and degradation of the entire biochemical machinery of life.


The existing balance in the earth for millions of years between carbon air and the combination of carbon to form organic compounds, has been altered from the second half of the twentieth century by the carbon emissions resulting from industrial development and progress of civilization.

Photosynthesis equation

Photosynthesis is summarized in the following equation:

Carbon dioxide + water + photon = glucose + oxygen 

 6CO2 + 6 H2O + hv = C6H12O6 + 6O2    

Hv stands for the light quanta, ie radiant energy. In this process are formed two elements crucial for life:

  • Glucose: primary energy source for all living organisms
  • Oxygen: Basic for all metabolic processes

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