Biology of Plants
Starting to Grow
Plant Parts
Making Food
Seed Dispersal
Plant Adaptations
Plants and Life on Earth
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Making Food

What is photosynthesis?
Photosynthesis is the process by which plants make food from light, water, nutrients, and carbon dioxide.
What is chlorophyll?
Chlorophyll is the green pigment, or color, found in plants that helps the plant make food.

Plants are very important to us.  All food people eat comes directly or indirectly from plants.

Directly from plants:
Indirectly from plants:
appleFor example, apples come from an apple tree.  The flour used to make bread comes from a wheat plant.
cow/steakSteak comes from a cow, and we all know that cows are animals, not plants, right?  But what does the cow eat?  It eats grass and grains—PLANTS!

So all the foods we eat come from plants.  But what do plants eat?  They make their own food!

What Do Plants Need to Make Food?

Plants need several things to make their own food.
They need:

  • chlorophyll, a green pigment found in the leaves of plants (see the layer of chlorophyll in the cross-section of a leaf below)

  • light (either natural sunlight or artificial light, like from a light bulb)
  • carbon dioxide (CO2)(a gas found in the air; one of the gases people and animals breathe out when they exhale)
  • water (which the plant collects through its roots)
  • nutrients and minerals (which the plant collects from the soil through its roots)

Plants make food in their leaves.  The leaves contain a pigment called chlorophyll, which colors the leaves green.  Chlorophyll can make food the plant can use from carbon dioxide, water, nutrients, and energy from sunlight.  This process is called photosynthesis.

Plant Needs

During the process of photosynthesis, plants release oxygen into the air.  People and animals need oxygen to breathe.