Is photosynthesis a chemical reaction?

1 Answer

Photosynthesis is a chemical change process. It can be summarized in a single chemical equation, but that equation is actually the sum total of a collection of chemical reactions.


Photosynthesis can be summarized with the following word equation:

carbon dioxide + water + light -> glucose + oxygen

Photosynthesis can be broken down into to different phases, the light reaction and the dark reaction.

During the light reaction, chlorophyll absorbs sunlight energy which allows water molecules to be split. This produces the oxygen for photosynthesis along with hydrogen ions.

Here is a video of an experiment to test how differing levels of carbon dioxide will impact the rate of the light reaction of photosynthesis.

Video from: Noel Pauller

During the dark reaction, carbon dioxide is used to drive a process called the Calvin cycle which produces glucose.

Hope this helps!