Oxygen is the component of the Earth’s atmosphere that exists solely as a result of photosynthesis. In the beginning, free oxygen was not available in the earth’s atmosphere: it was created about 3.5 billion years ago by the evolution of photosynthetic bacteria.
Photosynthesis takes place mainly in the leaves of green plants and is the main source of oxygen in the atmosphere. Oxygen makes up about 21% of the Earth’s atmosphere and is essential for the survival of most living organisms. Without oxygen, life as we know it would not be possible on earth.
What is Photosynthesis?
Photosynthesis is the process by which green plants, algae, and some bacteria convert sunlight into chemical energy and use it to synthesize nutrients from carbon dioxide and water. It is a vital process that takes place in all green plants and is the main source of oxygen in the earth’s atmosphere.
Photosynthesis uses the energy from sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose (a type of sugar) and oxygen. This process takes place in the chloroplasts of plant cells, which contain chlorophyll -the pigment that gives plants their green color. Chlorophyll absorbs sunlight and converts it into chemical energy, which is stored in the form of glucose.
The oxygen produced during photosynthesis is a byproduct of the process and is released into the atmosphere through tiny pores called stomata on the surface of the leaves.
Why is Oxygen Produced during Photosynthesis?
Oxygen is produced during photosynthesis as a by-product of converting carbon dioxide and water into glucose. The chemical reaction that occurs during photosynthesis can be represented by the following equation:
6CO2 + 6H2O + light energy = C6H12O6 + 6O2
In this equation, 6 molecules of carbon dioxide and 6 molecules of water are converted into 1 molecule of glucose and 6 molecules of oxygen. Oxygen is created when the water molecules are split into hydrogen and oxygen atoms, releasing the oxygen atoms into the atmosphere.
Importance of Oxygen in the Earth’s Atmosphere
Oxygen is a vital component of the earth’s atmosphere and essential for the survival of most living organisms. It makes up about 21% of the Earth’s atmosphere and is needed for respiration – the process by which living organisms convert the energy stored in food into usable energy.
Without oxygen, life as we know it would not be possible on earth. All animals, including humans, depend on oxygen to fuel their cells and sustain life. Oxygen is also important to ecosystem health as it is used by plants and animals to break down organic matter and return nutrients to the environment.