How a Plant Produces Food

Plant Cells Capture Sunlight

Plant cells containing chlorophyll are exposed to natural sunlight or high quality artificial light for a fixed number of hours per day during the growing season. Moisture from irrigation or rainfall that is held in the plant coupled with carbon dioxide that the plant takes in from the surrounding air via its stomata (a cellular structure on the epidermis) is mixed with energy from light in the plant cells. The amount of energy and nutrition a plant can produce increases as the amount of light plants receive increases. Conversely when light is withheld for extended periods the plant will die.

Photosynthesis Produces Sugars

The combination of sunlight, water and carbon dioxide results in the manufacture of simple plant sugars. This process is called photosynthesis. The plant sugars, such as glucose, can be broken down into component molecular parts and combined with other elements to make more complex sugars and starches that are stored in the plant cells.

Sugars Are Metabolized for Growth

The manufactured sugars or starches travel through the plant to the leaves, stems or roots to fuel cell growth. Respiration occurs and breaks nutrients down into component parts, releasing the water and carbon dioxide to be recombined to make fresh plant sugars.

Keywords: photosynthesis, plant nutrients, manufacture plant sugars, plant respiration

About this Author

A communications professional, D.C. Winston has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals and film/broadcast media. Winston studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.