Photosynthesis happens in two stages, both of which occur inside the chloroplasts of plant cells and algae.
1. The light reactions—Energy is absorbed from sunlight and converted into chemical energy, which is temporarily stored in ATP and NADPH.
2. The Calvin cycle—Carbon dioxide and the chemical energy stored in ATP and NADPH are used to form organic compounds.
Photosynthesis itself is an ongoing cycle: the products of the light reactions are used in the Calvin cycle, and some of the products of the Calvin cycle are used in the light reactions. The other products of the Calvin cycle are used to produce a variety of organic compounds, such as amino acids, lipids, and carbohydrates. Many plants produce more carbohydrates than they need. These extra carbohydrates can be stored as starch in the chloroplasts and in structures such as roots and fruits. These stored carbohydrates provide the chemical energy that both autotrophs and heterotrophs depend on.
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