You can learn more about what photosynthesis actually is in #20 of our educational cards, but for a quick rundown. In short photosynthesis, the process by which plants and certain other organisms transform light energy into chemical energy. During photosynthesis in plants, light energy is captured and used to convert water, carbon dioxide, and minerals into oxygen and energy-rich organic compounds. This following equation is the process of photosynthesis: 6CO2 + 6H2O + Light energy = C6H12O6 + 6O2. Which shows that carbon dioxide (CO2) plus water (H2O) in the presence of light yields glucose (C6H12O6) and oxygen (O2). Plants get carbon dioxide from the air through their leaves, and water from the ground through their roots. Light energy comes from the Sun.
So where exactly does this process take place?
In plants, photosynthesis takes place in chloroplasts, which contain the chlorophyll. These chloroplasts are located in the leaf of turfgrass and can also be found in most green plants. Chloroplasts are surrounded by a double membrane and contain a third inner membrane, called the thylakoid membrane, that forms long folds within the organelle. In electron micrographs, thylakoid membranes look like stacks of coins, although the compartments they form are connected like a maze of chambers. The green pigment chlorophyll is located within the thylakoid membrane, and the space between the thylakoid and the chloroplast membranes is called the stroma.
The light reactions of photosynthesis occur in the thylakoid membranes. The stroma is where the reactions of the Calvin cycle take place (The space outside the thylakoid membranes). In addition to enzymes, two basic types of molecules – pigments and electron carriers – are key players in this process and are also found in the thylakoid membranes.
Photosynthetic cells contain special pigments that absorb light energy. Different pigments respond to different wavelengths of visible light. Chlorophyll, the primary pigment used in photosynthesis, reflects green light and absorbs red and blue light most strongly. In plants, photosynthesis takes place in chloroplasts, which contain the chlorophyll.