How do plants use glucose for respiration?

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How do plants use glucose for respiration?

Discover how glucose and oxygen produced during photosynthesis in plants helps during respiration in animals

Learn about the role of photosynthesis in glucose and oxygen production in plants....

Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Photosynthesis is how plants use water, carbon dioxide and the energy of sunlight, to create glucose and oxygen. Water comes out of the reaction as well. A chemical summary for photosynthesis gives a bit more detail: Six molecules of carbon dioxide plus twelve molecules of water plus the energy of sunlight yield one molecule of glucose plus six molecules of oxygen and six molecules of water. Glucose and oxygen are very important products of photosynthesis. The glucose molecule is an important building block for many other useful substances in a plant. Cellulose is one such substance. Cellulose is the main material for the walls of plant cells. Dense cellulose makes wood, as in the trunk of this tree. Plants also link glucose molecules into chains to make starches. People and animals may recognize the excess starch in a plant as a source of food. For example, the starches from wheat and potatoes are common parts of the human diet. Glucose molecules are also made into sugars found in fruits such as grapes and apples. As plants assemble glucose molecules into cellulose, starches, and sugars, plants create the material out of which they themselves are made. Glucose produced by plants becomes the fuel that powers all kinds of living things. Glucose makes up so many parts of what humans eat, it's in our diet everywhere. Here we see a woman running. Cells in her muscles break down glucose--which she ate in her diet--to release the energy stored in glucose's chemical bonds. Her cells do this with oxygen, which she gets from breathing air. As her cells create energy from glucose, they produce waste products such as carbon dioxide, which she exhales. During respiration, glucose plus oxygen yield carbon dioxide, water, and energy. This way of generating energy from glucose in animals, mirrors what occurs during photosynthesis in plants. Together, respiration and photosynthesis make a cycle of life. Energy from the sun is captured in material by plants, which animals eat and expel as waste, that plants can recycle to capture more energy.

The cycle emphasizes how important oxygen is to living things in general. Most living things need oxygen for aerobic respiration. This oxygen is made by plants that photosynthesize.

The human population is increasing and this increases demand for food. Farmers can alter genes, control pests and ensure acceptable well-being to increase yields of plants and livestock.

How do plants use glucose for respiration?
Plants use a process called photosynthesis to make food. During photosynthesis, plants trap light energy with their leaves. Plants use the energy of the sun to change water and carbon dioxide into a sugar called glucose. Glucose is used by plants for energy and to make other substances like cellulose and starch. Cellulose is used in building cell walls. Starch is stored in seeds and other plant parts as a food source. That's why some foods that we eat, like rice and grains, are packed with starch!


How do plants use glucose for respiration?
Most plants contain a special colored chemical or pigment called chlorophyll that is used in photosynthesis. Chlorophyll is what absorbs the sun's energy and turns it into chemical energy. Not all the light energy from the sun is absorbed.

How do plants use glucose for respiration?
Sunlight has many different colors in it. Chlorophyll usually absorbs red and blue light from the sun and reflects green light. It's the green light reflecting  that makes some leaves look green! In the fall, some plants stop producing chlorophyll and we see leaves change color. With the chlorophyll gone, the green light is not being reflected anymore!

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Updated February 21, 2019

By Karen Gardner

Glucose provides plants with needed food through a process called photosynthesis. This process helps plants convert the energy they take in from sunlight into sugar to help nourish the plant. Photosynthesis occurs when carbon dioxide, water and sunlight are combined. Plants use these to form glucose and oxygen.

Photosynthesis in plants occurs when a plant gets its energy from light, typically sunlight. Using water and carbon dioxide taken in from the surrounding air, a plant is able to convert these molecules into glucose and oxygen.

The plant then releases oxygen into the air. Glucose, which is actually a sugar, feeds the plant. There are many uses of glucose in plants. Glucose helps plants grow, form flowers and develop fruit. It also helps plants develop seeds.

A plant's leaves are designed to retain water. That water then combines with carbon dioxide and light to form glucose to feed the plant. To help the plant retain water, leaves have a cuticle, a wax-like protective coating that prevents water from evaporating.

Leaves also have tiny pores that allow the leaf to take in carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is vital to the photosynthesis process the plant needs to form glucose and expel oxygen.

These leaf pores, called stomata, are found on the underside of the leaf. Once the leaf inhales carbon dioxide, the CO2 moves to the leaf's mesophyll cells. This is where photosynthesis takes place and glucose is formed.

This all happens when there’s sun. At night, or in winter, the plant is able to store glucose through a process called cellular respiration. Photosynthesis and cellular respiration are how plants and trees can stay dormant through cold, dark winter months and at night.

That stored glucose provides the energy to help many spring bulbs flower. Crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths, tulips and snowdrops all depend on glucose to flower. Lilacs need glucose to grow and bloom. Flowering trees use stored glucose to form their showy blossoms.

Glucose joins with oxygen in respiration. Glucose and oxygen together produce energy, which helps the plant thrive. Carbon dioxide is one byproduct of the respiration process.

When you plant a seed or young plant, the label will likely say how far away it should be from surrounding plants. That’s because all plants, like all living things, need oxygen.

If your plant is overcrowded or waterlogged from too much rain or poor soil drainage, this can damage or kill your plant. So plants, like people, need space to take in oxygen. Humans and other mammals, however, cannot form glucose in their bodies the way plants can. That’s why people eat plants that contain glucose.

Not all glucose is used for respiration. What’s not needed to produce energy for the plant is used for many other purposes. It may be stored in seeds. Glucose molecules together form cellulose, which builds or adds strength to cell walls.

Glucose molecules also form carbohydrates. When combined with nitrates from the soil, glucose will form amino acids. When amino acids join together, they form proteins. So, think of glucose as an important source of carbohydrates and, in the right combination, as part of a protein.

Without glucose, plants won't grow or reproduce.

Plants actively change their daily circadian rhythms to match the cycle of day and night by measuring the amount of sugars in their cells, according to a study conducted by scientists from the University of Bristol and four other international universities.

These scientists found that plants sense glucose from photosynthesis and adjust their daily body clocks to stay in tune with their environment. This control allows a plant to spread out its energy reserves so it doesn’t starve at night. It also helps the plant detect the change in seasons.