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NAME: Michael Timson

DATE:
FORM: U6-4
SUBJECT: Biology
TEACHER: Mrs. Dean Paul
TITLE: PHOTOSYNTHESIS- LIGHT INTENSITY
AIM: To determine the effect of varying light intensities on the rate of photosynthesis

INTRODUCTION:
Photosynthesis is the process by which plants, and some algae (Kingdom Protista), converts light
energy to chemical energy, storing it in the bonds of sugar. Photosynthesis takes place primarily
in plant leaves. The process of photosynthesis takes place in the chloroplasts. Chloroplast are
comprised of an outer and inner membranes, intermembrane space, stroma, and thylakoids
stacked in grana. The chlorophyll is built into the membranes of the thylakoids.
The overall chemical reaction involved in photosynthesis is:
6CO2 + 6H2O C6H12O6 + 6O2. This is the source of the O2 breathe and thus is a significant
factor for the survival of organisms.
Plants utilizes sunlight light energy, along with CO2 and H2O, to make sugar. Sunlight energy
are captured by photosynthetic pigments (primarily chlorophyll) and accessory pigments and us
used in one of the two stages of photosynthesis known as the light dependent stage.
The light reaction happens in the thylakoid membrane and converts light energy to
chemical energy. This chemical reaction must, therefore, take place in the light. Chlorophyll and
several other pigments such as beta-carotene are organized in clusters in the thylakoid membrane
and are involved in the light reaction. Each of these differently-colored pigments can absorb a
slightly different color of light and pass its energy to the central chlorophyll molecule. The light
energy absorbed is used to make ATP and reduced NADP. This occurs through a process known

as phosphorylation where ATP is produced by the combining of a phosphate group with ADP
using the energy that originally came from the light. Photophosphorylation occurs when an
electron is passed along a series of electron carriers, forming an electron transport chain in the
thylakoid membrane. The energy is used to cause a phosphate group to react with ADP.
ADP

Phosphate

ATP.

Non

cyclic

photophosphorylation,

unlike

cyclic

photophosphorylation, results in both the production of ATP and reduced NADP. Reduced NADP
is formed when electrons emitted from PS1, chlorophyll molecules arranged in clusters known as
photosystem, are used to help reduce NAPD. For this to occur, hydrogen ions are required. These
come from another event that happens when light hits PSII. PS11 contains enzymes that splits
water when it is activated by light known as photolysis. 2H 2O 4H+ + O2. The hydrogen ions
are taken up forming reduced NADP. The electrons replace the one emitted from PSII when
lights hits it
The energy harvested via the light reaction is stored by forming a chemical called ATP
(adenosine triphosphate), a compound used by cells for energy storage. This chemical is made of
the nucleotide adenine bonded to a ribose sugar, and that is bonded to three phosphate groups.
This molecule is very similar to the building blocks for our DNA.
The light independent stage takes place in the stroma within the chloroplast, and converts CO 2 to
sugar. This reaction needs the products of the light reaction (ATP and NADPH or reduced
NADP). The dark reaction involves a cycle called the Calvin cycle in which CO 2 and energy
from ATP are used to form sugar. The first product of photosynthesis is a three-carbon compound
called glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate and is almost immediately join to another to form a glucose
molecule.
Photosynthesis requires various inputs such as carbon dioxide and water, and energy in
the form of sunlight. Hence these requirement control the rate of photosynthesis, thus lowering
its rate or increasing the rate of the reaction. Light provides the energy that drives the light
dependent reaction. Hence, without the presence of light, photosynthesis is unable to occur. Light
is thus known as a limiting factor

APPARATUS:

NaHCO3 solution
Boiling Tube
Elodea
Lamp
Water Bath
Scalpel

METHOD
1. A long piece of Elodea shoot was cut approximately 7cm diagonally at the severed end.
2. The Elodea plantlet was placed in a test tube filled with NaHCO 3 dissolved in 50cm3 of
water with the stem end up.
3. A paper clip was then used to hold the plant steady and in place, close to the bottom of
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

the test tube.


All visible aquatic invertebrates was removed from the test tube.
The test tube was placed in a 30 C water bath.
The light source was placed 5cm from the water bath.
The lamp was turn on to allow five minutes of equilibrating time.
The number of bubbles evolved from the elodea were counted over a three minute period.

This count was repeated 2 times for the same light intensity.
9. The above steps were then repeated with the light source at 15cm, 30cm, 50cm and 80cm
away from the plant.

RESULTS
TABLE SHOWING THE NUMBER OF BUBBLES RELEASED FOR EACH LIGHT
INTENSITY

Distance Of Light
Source/ cm
5
15
30
50
80

Light Intensity/
M-2

Number Of Bubbles Of O2 Gas Produced Over 3 min

400
44
11
4
1

1
42
28
12
10
2

2
40
21
13
8
1

3
43
29
14
6
9

Average
42
31
13
9
4

DISCUSSION
In this experiment, oxygen bubbles were produced in relation to the various light
intensities. The bubbles produced indicated the rate at which photosynthesis transpired. From the
results obtained in this experiment, it is seen, in tabulated results, that as the distance between the
light source and the plant increased, i.e. the light intensity decreasing, the number of bubbles
produced with the three minutes duration decreased, thus indicating the decrease in the rate of
photosynthesis. From the graph, it was seen that between light intensity 0 m -2 and 22 m-2 , there
was significant increase in the increasing rate of the reaction. That it, between these light
intensity, the increase in the rate of photosynthesis was greatest between these points. By
increasing the light intensity given to the plant, greater light energy can now be taken in by
photosynthetic pigments, creating both ATP and reduced NADP at a faster rate thus releasing
greater amounts of oxygen gas (bubbles). .
Beyond the 22m-2 light intensity, it was observed that the liquid effervesce decreased in
the increasing rate of photosynthesis, i.e. while the rate of photosynthesis still increased, the rate
of the increased depleted until increasing the light intensity displayed no further effect on
photosynthesis beyond 196m-2. At this rate, light saturation has occurred. Another factor, such
as the availability of carbon dioxide, or the quantity of chlorophyll in the plant leaves, prohibits
the rate of photosynthesis from increasing. At this point, light is no longer a limiting factor.
Within this experiment there were various sources of errors. The experiment was
conducted in an air conditioning environment and thus temperature fluctuations occurred.

Temperature, being one of the factors affecting photosynthesis, it would thus cause a slight
depletion in the accuracy of the results. In addition to temperature fluctuations, the air bubbles
produce/counted were not all the same size and thus the estimated amount of oxygen produced
for each light intensity would be less precise. It is recommended that before conducting the
experiment, that all apparatus are washed thoroughly to ensure that there are no residue of
chemicals on the apparatus when conducting the experiment. Also, the experiment could be
conducted using more light intensities, such as 40m-2 or 60m-2 and 70m-2 to acquire a more
accurate result/observation pertaining to the effects of the increase of light intensity on plants.

CONCLUSION: Within the limits of experimental error, it was seen that as light intensity
increased, the rate of photosynthesis also increased until light saturation was reached.