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Answer to Question #23102 in Biochemistry for Tamara

Question #23102
Analyze the similarities and differences between chemosynthesis and photosynthesis. Determine what you believe is the most significant step in regard to harnessing energy within each process, and explain why
Expert's answer
Differences between chemosynthesis and photosynthesis:
Chemosynthesis get energy from oxidation of inorganic substance, photosynthesis gets energy from light. Chemosynthesis could occur just about anywhere there are enough suitable chemicals to oxidize, photosynthesis could only occur when there is sufficient light. Some of these differences reflect the different end products that may be formed. In photosynthetic plants the products of photosynthesis partly accumulate as storage carbohydrates, especially starch and sucrose. The chemosynthetic bacteria do not store these compounds; instead there is an extensive formation of acidic products, some of which may arise by secondary carboxylation reactions.
Photosynthesis and chemosynthesis both get energy from inorganic materials. Photosynthesis uses sunlight and chemosynthesis uses inorganic compounds. The last one is the process by which certain bacteria convert carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates using inorganic compounds for energy. Photosynthesis uses carbon dioxide, water and light to make oxygen and glucose. The path of carbon in photosynthesis and chemosynthesis draws upon reactions which are also part of glycolysis, pentose phosphate metabolism, and dicarboxylic acid metabolism.
Photosynthesis is an important process because it harnesses the sun's energy into utilizable forms ofenergyon earth. Most biological organisms such as animals and fungi are unable to directly use light energy to power biological processes such as active transport, cell division and muscle movement. ATP is used to power these processes. Photosynthesis converts light energy into chemical energy in the form of glucose and then the process of cellular respiration converts energy in glucose to energy in the form of ATP which is ultimately used to power biological processes. The energy produced by photosynthesis forms the basis of virtually all terrestrial and aquatic food chains. As a result, photosynthesis is the ultimate source of carbon in the organic molecules found in most organisms. The high oxygen concentration in the atmosphere is derived directly from the light reactions of photosynthesis. Prior to the evolution of photosynthesis on earth, the atmosphere was anoxic.
Chemosynthetic bacterium takes in energy from its environment in the form from the inorganic compounds such as nitrites, hydrogen sulfide, and hydrogen. These organisms due to this process are able to live under severe conditions; some never receive sunlight or may be found clustered around underwater vents producing superheated boiling water.

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