Questions Science and Education

How do plants obtain food?

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Aaron S Lopez

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Plants are the primary and sole elements of the ecosystem. The ecosystem is the structure of a living where the interaction of all the biological and elements is done with the physical world. Without plants, all other organisms of the ecosystem will no more exist in the world.  Whatever we eat, somehow directly or indirectly comes from the plants. Foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, etc., come directly from the plants and other foods like fish, meat, milk, eggs, etc. comes from the animals which are directly dependable on the plants. Thus, anyhow it is clear that human beings are entirely dependant on the plants for their living. But, have you ever thought that if plants are the source of life, then how do they get their food? How can plants survive? Here you will get to know how plants obtain their food.

You must be surprised to know that plants can produce their food. The process through which they can obtain their food with the help of certain products like water, sunlight, carbon dioxide and proper nutrients from the soil is called photosynthesis. They use their leaves as the central part to prepare their food. 

Leaves contain a green pigment called chlorophyll for which its color is seemed as green, and this is the additional element that combines with other ingredients like sunlight, water, carbon dioxide, and nutrients to prepare the food. 

The process of photosynthesis:

i. First, the chlorophyll in the leaves absorbs the direct sunlight to get the required minerals, thylakoid membranes and proteins they are broken down to electrons so that it gets simplified to natural molecules devoid of complex substances. 

ii. As the electrons are produced, they are now transported from the primary electron acceptor in the thylakoid membrane. Through this, the NADP+ is reduced to NADPH to form a pH gradient. Here, there is a significant role in the photosynthetic bacterias. 

iii. The next step is the generation of Adenosine triphosphate from Adenosine diphosphate which is also known as the proton motive force. 

iv. As the previous stage is completed, finally the carbon dioxide and the water which were absorbed by the plants are synthesized down to polymers of six-carbon sugars which are also known as glucose. 

Among all these four steps, the first three steps occur during the daytime for which it is known as the light phase of photosynthesis, and the fourth one happened in the night and known as the dark phase of photosynthesis. 

In the case of the non-green plants like saprophytic or parasitic, they depend on the damp, moist mud and other plants to get its nutrition as they lack chlorophyll.

Read more: What is autotrophic nutrition?

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