Photosynthetic Reaction Centers

Definition - What does Photosynthetic Reaction Centers mean?

Photosynthetic reaction centers are the core area of a plant responsible for capturing photons of light and transforming that into energy needed for growth. These centers are a combination of pigments, proteins, and other co-factors.

All green plants have two photosynthetic reaction centers. One is called photosystem I and the other is called photosystem II. These centers are very complex, and are as yet not well understood by science. Algae has only a single reaction center, and because it contains fewer proteins and is much less complex, it is better understood.

MaximumYield explains Photosynthetic Reaction Centers

Green plants need several things in order to survive. They need water, they require minerals, and they must have sunlight, as well. However, sunlight must be first captured and then transformed into energy, which the plant can then use to carry out metabolic processes. This is done by photosynthetic reaction centers within the plant.

All green plants have photosynthetic reaction centers, and they’re also found in many types of algae, as well. Essentially, these are proteins that contain chlorophyll and other co-factors, as well as receptors capable of capturing photons of light.

As photons are captured, an electron within the pigment (chlorophyll) is excited (gains more energy). As the electron becomes more excited, it generates more energy, which is then available to the plant for use in metabolic processes.

Specifically, the energy collected from excited electrons is used to generate ion and pH gradients. These are necessary for ATP synthesis needed in most green plants. It also helps with the conversion of CO2 into sugars, and the extraction of energy from those substances.

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