Plants are vital for life – without photosynthesis taking place, we would all be very hungry! There would also be a lot more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere!
There are around 400,00 species of plants, found on all continents, even Antarctica. Every year more species are being discovered. Around 300,00 of these are edible, yet we only eat about 200 of them!! Even more incredible, half of the calories and protein we get from plants, comes from just three different plants – maize, rice and wheat.
Like animals, plants have defense mechanisms in order to protect themselves. Next time you are sitting outside, enjoying the smell of freshly cut grass, spare a thought for the grass plant. When grass is cut it is actually releasing organic compounds called green leaf volatiles (GLV’s), which are part of the plant’s defense system. The grass uses the GLV’s to stimulate the growth of new cells – to repair the damage that has been done by the mower. They also act as an antibiotic, reducing bacterial and fungal growth. Some of them even combine with other chemicals producing a type of distress signal, letting other parts of the garden know what is about to happen!!
GCSE scientists – you need to be able to explain what photosynthesis is. To help try out Part 1 of our new guide ” How to work with Photosynthesis”. It describes what photosynthesis is, includes the word and symbol equation and explains what the limiting factors of photosynthesis are. The guide includes information about how the plant uses the glucose made. Most importantly, there are example questions to try, alongside answers for you to check your understanding.
Click on the picture below to see our guide.
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