Chapter Highlights

The Light Reactions

• Photosynthesis converts light energy into chemical energy through series of reactions known as biochemical pathways. Almost all life depends on photosynthesis.

• Autotrophs use photosynthesis to make organic compounds from carbon dioxide and water. Heterotrophs cannot make their own organic compounds from inorganic compounds and therefore depend on autotrophs.

• White light from the sun is composed of an array of colors called the visible spectrum. Pigments absorb certain colors of light and reflect or transmit the other colors.

• The light reactions of photosynthesis begin with the absorption of light by chlorophyll a and accessory pigments in the thylakoids.

• Excited electrons that leave chlorophyll a travel along two electron transport chains, resulting in the production of NADPH.The electrons are replaced when water is split into electrons, protons, and oxygen in the thylakoid. Oxygen is released as a byproduct of photosynthesis.

• As electrons travel along the electron transport chains, protons move into the thylakoid and build up a concentration gradient. The movement of protons down this gradient of protons and through ATP synthase results in the synthesis of ATP through chemiosmosis.


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