How is Sunlight Converted into Food?

Alex Williams
7 Min Read

The sun is a source of renewable energy. It is important for every human being in the world. From warming the earth’s surface to the water, sunlight is everywhere. Just like all other living beings, the sun is essential for plant growth. It is a fact that without sun plants cannot grow, survive or make necessary food for themselves. But do you know what form of energy is sunlight converted to? How do plants use energy and how is sunlight converted into food? Let’s find it out.

1. How is Sunlight Converted into Food for Plants?

The most important characteristic of plants is that they make their own food. This process is known as photosynthesis, which happens in the green leaves of plants. Photosynthesis happens only in the chloroplasts of plant cells because it contains green pigment. Wondering how is sunlight converted into food for plants? Keep reading. Here are the steps of how this process is done:

  • The sun’s energy is trapped and used to manufacture food using its energy.
  • The plants take water, carbon dioxide, sunlight, and chlorophyll to make food.
  • This food-making starts basically in the leaf cells of the plants.
  • The things which are needed to manufacture food are moved from the roots to the stem.
  • The cells present in the plant convert sugar into starch and combines other materials to build proteins, vitamins, and fats.

2. How do Plants use Energy?

Photo by Stijn Dijkstra on Pexels

Plants are the primary producers because they produce their own food. The process starts with the water and minerals they absorb underground. The leaves of the plants absorb a gas called carbon dioxide from the air. They then convert these elements into food with the help of energy obtained from sunlight. This is called photosynthesis. The foods that the plant consumes are called glucose and starch. Therefore, plants use energy for photosynthesis.  (See What are Few Examples of Producers Consumers and Decomposers?)

3. What Form of Energy is Sunlight Converted to?

Every process of photosynthesis is broken into new parts. It requires energy to operate and convert carbon dioxide into gaseous molecules. The sunlight that is received is converted to chemical energy as ATP (adenosine triphosphate). It is the main source of energy that stores necessary molecules in living organisms. The ATP is taken from the chloroplast and provides the chemical energy to create a metabolic reaction. For example, carbon dioxide is converted into sugar and other food sources. (See Which Tree Gives Oxygen?)

4. How is Sunlight Converted into Food for Food Energy?

The energy flow in the ecosystem is always moving. This energy flows from the sun to the producers and then to consumers. Are you wondering how is sunlight converted into food for food energy? Here it is. The green plants in the terrestrial ecosystem hold 1% of the solar energy which falls on leaves and is converted into food energy through photosynthesis. (See What Would Happen if There was No Sunlight?)

5. How do Plants use Energy at Night for Respiration?

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Every living being in this world uses respiration to get the energy for being alive. Plants do cellular respiration. This helps them to convert the nutrients from the soil into energy that will feed their cellular activities and needs.  During the night, the plants take nutrients they need to keep cells alive, grow slowly and use less energy. During photosynthesis, the plants make their own food. For respiration, plants need glucose and oxygen and release heat energy, eater, and carbon dioxide. (Also read How is Photosynthesis Considered Endergonic?)

6. Why do Plants Store Energy?

Plants need both carbohydrates and fats to store energy. The leaves use carbohydrates to store their energy during their life span. This happens due to two reactions that produce ATP. The two reactions are photosynthesis and cellular respiration.

The process is undertaken as such

6CO2 + 6H2O → C6H12O6 + Energy + 6O2

Here C6H12O6 is Glucose. (See Plants Store Food in the Form of?)

7. How do Plants absorb Light Energy?

There are a lot of different pigments in nature, one of which is chlorophyll. It enables plants to absorb energy and build tissues. Its job is to absorb sunlight. The energy that is absorbed from light is transferred to the stored molecules. Plants also use glucose to take nutrients from the soil and make new leaves and other parts. Moreover,  this process of photosynthesis helps produce oxygen. (See What are Main Habitats of Plants?)

8. How is Sunlight Converted into Food for Humans?

Photo by Polina Rytova on Unsplash

Humans get energy from the sun indirectly by consuming food, just like how plants have chemical energy, which is converted for photosynthesis. Humans consume plants as food and take energy from the sun indirectly. Sun has vitamin D which helps in the growth of humans. This is where humans consume it indirectly by eating rice and grains which are packed with starch. So, sunlight is converted into food through plants. (See What Are The Benefits Of Sunlight To The Body?)

Food is produced by plants during the photosynthesis process. When plants use their leaves to absorb heat and light, photosynthesis takes place. They assist the sun’s energy in converting water and carbon dioxide into glucose, a sugar. They support the construction of cell walls. All of this had to do with the nourishment that plants consume during photosynthesis.

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