13.1 What do we Know?

Let us try to find out what we already know about photosynthesis. Some simple experiments you may have done in the earlier classes have shown that chlorophyll (green pigment of the leaf), light and CO2 are required for photosynthesis to occur.

You may have carried out the experiment to look for starch formation in two leaves – a variegated leaf or a leaf that was partially covered with black paper, and one that was exposed to light. On testing these leaves for starch it was clear that photosynthesis occurred only in the green parts of the leaves in the presence of light.

Another experiment you may have carried out isthe half-leaf experiment, where a part of a leaf is enclosed in a test tube containing some KOH soaked cotton (which absorbs CO2), while the other half is exposed to air.

The setup is then placed in light for some time. On testing for starch later in the two halves of the leaf, you must have found that the exposed part of the leaf tested positive for starch while the portion that was in the tube, tested negative.

This showed that CO2 was required for photosynthesis.

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