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Chapter Outline
S 5.1 Autotrophic nutrition S 5.1.1 Biochemistry of photosynthesis S 5.1.2 Photorespiration S 5.1.3 C3 plants and C4 plants S 5.1.4 Factors affecting photosynthesis S 5.2 Heterotrophic nutrition S 5.2.1 Modes of heterotrophic nutrition S 5.2.2 Nutrition in mammals S 5.2.3 Digestion in herbivores

S Nutrition is a process by which organisms obtain

nutrients containing energy, carbon sources and other substances from food
S The nutrients provide energy for the metabolic

activity in organisms
S The carbon source is essential for building

organic molecules of cells

S Nutrients are essential for the maintenance of

life processes

Two modes of nutrition

a) Autotrophic nutrition
S The organisms (autotrophs) manufacture

their own food

b) Heterotrophic nutrition
S The organisms (heterotrophs) cannot

synthesise their own nutrients and must obtain nutrients from other organisms

Autotrophic nutrition Heterotrophic nutrition



Holozoic nutrition

Saprophytic nutrition

Symbiotic nutrition

Parasitic nutrition

5.1 Autotrophic Nutrition

S Autotrophs make use of raw, simple inorganic

carbon source to synthesise complex organic molecules

S Their main source of carbon is carbon

dioxide (CO2)
S There are two types of autotrophic nutrition: a) Photosynthesis b) Chemosynthesis

a) Photosynthesis
S The process by which green plants

(photoautotrophs) absorb light energy and use it to synthesise complex organic molecules (sugar) and oxygen from CO2 and H2O
S Photoautotrophs include green plants, algae,

and cyanobacteria
Light Energy

CO2 + H2O

CH2O + O2 + H2O

b) Chemosynthesis
S The process whereby the organisms

(chemoautotrophs) synthesise organic compounds using CO2 as an inorganic carbon source [carbon assimilation reaction]
S The energy required to drive the synthesis

process is obtained by oxidising inorganic compounds such as hydrogen sulphide, ammonia, nitrite, hydrogen, sulphur, iron

S Chemoautotrophs include bacteria such as

Thiobacillus, Nitrobacter, Nitrosomonas, Hydrogenomonas and Ferrobaccilus NO2


Nitrobacter Oxygen Nitrobacter

NO3- + Energy


NO2- + Energy

The site of photosynthesis

S Leaves are the major sites of photosynthesis

in a plant
S They are adapted to receive energy from the

sun, to allow diffusion of gases and water vapour and to remove products of photosynthesis
*Refer to SPM txtbook on page 175 to 177

Adaptations of leaves for photosynthesis

Arrangement and shape
S Leaves are arranged in a mosaic pattern to

minimise overlapping, and maximise exposure to light and gaseous exchange

S Leaves are flattened with a large surface

area to receive maximum sunlight

S Leaves are thin and flat for sunlight to reach

the lower layer and rapid diffusion of gases

How are structures within a leaf adapted for photosynthesis?

i) Upper epidermis
S Consists of a single layer of flattened and

transparent cells. This allows light to pass through and reach the underlying mesophyll layer
S The cells do not contain chloroplast so sunlight

can penetrate easily

S Epidermis

is covered with waxy, waterproof cuticle to help reduce water loss from the plant. It is transparent to allow light to penetrate the leaf

Upper epidermis



Palisade mesophyll Spongy mesophyll

Vascular tissue
Guard cell
CO2 enters through stoma H2O and O2 exit through stoma

Lower epidermis

How are structures within a leaf adapted for photosynthesis?

ii) Palisade mesophyll
S The cells are column-shaped, tightly packed

in an upright arrangement to allow the cells to receive maximum amount of incoming light
S The cells contain many chloroplast,
S The chloroplast within these cells can move

about and arrange themselves to maximise absorption of sunlight

How are structures within a leaf adapted for photosynthesis?

iii) Spongy mesophyll
S The cells have irregular shape with fewer

chloroplasts, increasing the surface area for gaseous exchange

S The cells are loosely packed with large air

spaces between them, this allows for an easy diffusion of gases (CO2) and water to the palisade cells
S The cell walls are moist to allow gaseous

exchange to take place efficiently

How are structures within a leaf adapted for photosynthesis?

iv) Vascular bundle
S A fine network of small veins enables a

constant supply of water, minerals and removal of products of photosynthesis

S Xylem supply water and mineral salts to the

S Phloem transport products of photosynthesis

(usually sugar) away from the leaf to other parts of the plant

How are structures within a leaf adapted for photosynthesis?

v) Lower epidermis
S Contains numerous pores called stomata that

permit exchange of gases between the inside of the leaf and the atmosphere
S Each stoma is flanked by two guard cells

which regulate the opening and closure of the stomata

S Lower epidermis does not contain chloroplast

except for guard cells

The site of photosynthesis

S Mainly found in the mesophyll cells of leaves

S Chloroplasts are enclosed with a double

plasmalemma, an outer and an inner membrane

S Within the inner membrane is a system of

interconnected thylakoid membranes

S At certain places, the thylakoid membrane are

arranged in stacks called grana

i) Grana (singular: granum)
S Granna are the sites of light reaction
S Contain the light-trapping pigment chlorophyll S The surface of the thylakoid membranes also

contain accessory pigments and electron carriers involved in the light reaction

ii) Stroma
S Grana are surrounded by a gel-like matrix

called stroma
S Stroma is the site of dark reaction of

S Stroma contains the enzyme responsible for

a dark reaction

iii) Starch grain
S A temporary storage place for the products of

S Are also located in the stroma

5.1.1 Biochemistry of photosynthesis

S Green plants use sunlight as an energy

source, CO2 and H2O as raw materials for photosynthesis

S The light/solar energy trapped by green plant

is converted to chemical energy

S During photosynthesis, CO2 and H2O are

converted into carbohydrate and O2

Biochemistry of photosynthesis
S The process of photosynthesis can be

simplified with the following chemical reaction:

6CO2 + 6H2O
Light energy



S The more precise equation should be:

6CO2 + 12H2O

Light energy Chloroplast

C6H12O6 + 6H2O + 6O2

Biochemistry of photosynthesis

S The oxygen gas given off by plants is derived

from water and not from carbon dioxide

S van Niel hypothesised that plants split water as

a source of hydrogen for sugar synthesis, releasing oxygen gas as a by-product

Biochemistry of photosynthesis
S van Niels hypothesis was confirmed by M.

Kamen by using 18O, an isotope of oxygen, as a tracer to follow the fate of oxygen during photosynthesis
S When H218O containing the isotope

was used to carry out the experiment, the oxygen released from the plants was labeled with 18O was introduced in the form of C18O2, the oxygen released was not labeled with 18O


S When the

Biochemistry of photosynthesis
S The experiment can be summarised as follows,

red denotes 18O:

Experiment 1: CO2 + 2H218O Experiment 2: C18O2 + 2H2O

CH2O + H2O +

18O 2

CH218O + H218O + O2

Biochemistry of photosynthesis
Reactants: 6CO2 + 12H2O


C6H12O6 + 6H2O


S During photosynthesis, chloroplast splits water into

H and O, the H is used to make sugar while O2 is released as by-product

S Therefore, 12H2O are required to release 6O2

Photosynthetic pigments
S Thylakoids membranes of grana in the

chloroplasts contain pigments

S The photosynthetic pigments most

commonly present are:

a) Chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b b) Carotene, xanthophyll

Photosynthetic pigments
S The most abundant photosynthetic pigment

in plants
S Chlorophyll are green because they reflect

green light and give leaves their green colour

S Chlorophyll absorbs red and violet light

maximally, green light the least

Photosynthetic pigments
Carotene and xanthophylls
S Collectively known as carotenoids
S Absorb blue-violet light maximally and are

red, orange or yellow pigments

S Act as accessory pigments, they pass the

light energy to chlorophyll a

The absorption spectrum of photosynthetic pigments

The mechanism of photosynthesis

S Photosynthesis occurs at two consecutive stages:

i) Light reaction Converts light energy to chemical energy in the form of ATP and NADPH ii) Dark reaction Synthesise carbohydrate from CO2 using the energy produced in the light reaction
S The two reactions occur at different sites in the


Light Reaction
S AKA Hill reaction S Requires the presence of light S Occurs in the thylakoid membrane of the

grana inside a chloroplast

S Generates ATP and NADPH, two main

products of light reaction

S Releases oxygen gas as by-products

i) Excitation of chlorophylls electrons

S During the light reaction, chlorophyll absorbs

light energy and becomes unstable.

S One of the chlorophylls electrons is elevated to

a higher energy level, the chlorophyll molecule is said to be in an excited state.

S In the excited state, chlorophyll discharges an

electron to form a positively charged chlorophyll


Light energy


+ e-

ii) Photolysis of water

S The light energy absorbed also causes water

molecules to split into two H+ and an O atom, a reaction called photolysis of water H2O
Light energy Chlorophyll

2H+ + 2e- + O

O atom to form O2



+ O


S The O atom immediately combines with another S It is the water-splitting step of photosynthesis

that releases O2 gas

iii) Chlorophyll returns to ground state

S The electrons released from photolysis of

water is accepted by the positively charged chlorophyll to replace the electron lost when it absorbed light energy earlier

Chlorophyll+ + e-


S The chlorophyll molecule becomes neutral

again, and it is said to be in a ground state. It can continue to absorb light energy

iv) Generation of ATP

S The excited electron is transferred through an

electron transport chain to a molecule called NADP+

S As electrons flow through the chain, energy is

S This amount of energy is harnessed by the

thylakoid membrane to convert ADP to ATP, a process called photophosphorylation

S The ATP generated will provide chemical energy

for the synthesis of sugar during the dark reaction

v) Production of NADPH

S The

excited electron and proton (from photolysis of water) are accepted by NADP+ to form NADPH the synthesis of sugar in the dark reaction

S The NADPH will provide reducing power for

Light reaction

S Make use of solar energy to generate ATP

and NADPH, which provide chemical energy and reducing power (hydrogen atom) respectively for sugar synthesis in the dark reaction

Dark Reaction
S AKA the Calvin Cycle S Does not require sunlight S Occurs in the stroma of the chloroplast S It utilises the ATP and NADPH produced in

the light reaction to synthesise sugar from CO2

Dark Reaction

S The reaction is divided into three phases: i) Fixation of CO2 ii) Reduction of PGA iii) Formation of glucose

i) Fixation of CO2
S CO2 from the atmosphere enters the leaf

though the stomata into the intercellular spaces.

S It then diffuses into the stroma in the

chloroplast of the palisade and spongy mesophyll cells

S The CO2 molecule combines with a 5-carbon

compound ribulose bisphosphate (RuBP) to form an unstable 6-carbon compound

i) Fixation of CO2

S This process is catalysed by photosynthetic

enzymes in the stroma

S The 6-carbon compound immediately splits

into two of 3-carbon compound called phosphoglyceric acid (PGA)


Phosphoglyceraldehyde (PGAL)


ii) Reduction of PGA

S PGA receives an additional phosphate group

from ATP to form bisphosphoglyceric acid

S Bisphosphoglyceric acid accepts H atoms from

NADPH to form phosphoglyceraldehyde (PGAL), a 3-carbon sugar

iii) Formation of glucose

S Some of the PGAL molecules are used to

synthesise glucose compounds

S The




rest of the PGAL molecules are rearranged in a series of reactions to regenerate RuBP, this process requires energy again, the cycle continues

S The RuBP is now prepared to receive CO2

Differences between light reaction and dark reaction

Light Reaction
Light energy Time of reaction Site of reaction Main reactants

Dark Reaction

Required Not required Day time Day and night Grana Stroma H2O, ADP, Pi & CO2, ATP, NADPH NADP+ Main products ATP, NADPH & O2 3-carbon sugar Source of energy Light energy ATP Factors that Quality and amount Temperature, CO2 affect the rate of light and O2 conc.

5.1.2 Photorespiration
S A respiration process that occurs in the light S When the O2 level is higher than CO2, O2 is

added to RuBP in the Calvin Cycle instead of CO2

S The product splits, is exported from the

chloroplast, and is broken down to CO2

S The process consumes O2 and releases

CO2, so it is a respiration process

S Unlike normal cellular respiration,

photorespiration generates no energy

S Unlike photosynthesis, photorespiration

produces no food
S Photorespiration reduces the photosynthetic

rate and is regarded as a wasteful process

S Conditions that promote photorespiration are

hot, dry and bright days

5.1.3 C3 plants and C4 plants

C3 plants
S In C3 plants, the first organic product formed

during CO2 fixation is the 3-carbon compound phosphoglyceric acid (PGA)

S Wet paddy, soybeans and cotton are among

the C3 plants that are important in agriculture

S In general, C3 plants have a relatively high

photorespiration rate

5.1.3 C3 plants and C4 plants

C4 plants
S In C4 plants, the first product formed during

CO2 fixation is a 4-carbon compound called oxaloacetic acid (OAA)

S Examples of C4 plants are maize, sugarcane

and sorghum
S In general, C3 plants have a relatively high

photorespiration rate


5.1.3 C3 plants and C4 plants

C4 plants
S C4 plants have a low rate of photorespiration S C4 plants are adapted to minimise

photorespiration and enhances sugar production

S Owing to the higher rate of carbon fixation in

C4 plants and enhanced food production, C4 plants have a higher economic value than C3 plants

5.1.4 Factors affecting photosynthesis

Factors that limit the photosynthesis are:

S Light S Carbon dioxide concentration S Temperature S Oxygen concentration S Water availability

a) Light
S Light is essential for the light reaction S Light affects the rate of photosynthesis in two

ways: i) Light quality

S Chlorophyll absorbs mainly red and violet

light and yellow light the least

S Therefore, the photosynthetic rate is the

highest under red and violet light; the lowest under yellow and green light

a) Light
ii) Light intensity S The rate of photosynthesis is directly proportional to light intensity when the CO2 concentration and temperature are kept at constant levels
S As the light intensity increases, the

photosynthetic rate increases until a saturation point is reached

S The photosynthetic rate is at maximum at the

saturation point

a) Light
ii) Light intensity S Beyond this point, further increase in light intensity will have no effect on the rate of photosynthesis
S The photosynthesis process is limited by other

factors such temperature





S Increase CO2 concentration may increase the

rate of photosynthesis until a saturation point is reached again

b) Carbon dioxide concentration

S CO2 is required in the dark reaction for the

synthesis of glucose
S The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is

about 0.04%
S At very low CO2 level (0.005%), photosynthesis

does not proceed normally

S When there is no other factors limiting

photosynthesis, an increase in CO2 concentration increases the rate of photosynthesis

b) Carbon dioxide concentration

S The photosynthetic rate keeps increasing until

a saturation point is reached

S Beyond the saturated point, the rate of

photosynthesis will not increase further because light intensity acts as a limiting factor

c) Temperature
S The dark reaction of photosynthesis involves

enzyme, so changes in temperature will affect the rate of photosynthesis

S When the temperature is too low or too high,

photosynthesis does not occur

S In general, the rate of photosynthesis

increases with an increase in temperature provided the light intensity and CO2 concentration are not limiting

c) Temperature
S The rate of photosynthesis is at maximum at

optimum temperature, most plants have an optimum temperature of 25C 35C

S At high temperature above the optimum

temperature (~40C), photosynthesis stops as the photosynthetic enzymes are denatured

d) Oxygen concentration
S High oxygen concentration and low CO2

concentration will lower photosynthesis in C3 plants




S O2 molecules tend to compete with CO2 for

the 5-carbon sugar RuBP and result in photorespiration

e) Water availability
S Water is required in the light reaction S However, it is rarely the limiting factor in

photosynthesis as the amount of water required is small

S Water controls the opening and closing of the stomata S A lack of water causes the stomata close, this

prevents the entry of CO2 into the leaves.

S The rate of photosynthesis may decrease as low CO2

level becomes the limiting factor