Why Is Photosynthesis Referred to As a Biochemical Pathway?


Photosynthesis, the process by which green plants use light energy to make chemical energy, is an example of a biochemical pathway. Biochemical pathways are sequential steps of chemical reactions that organize energy and materials in cells.

The Facts

  • During photosynthesis light energy is used to convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose (sugar) and oxygen gas through a series of sequential steps.


  • Typically, biochemical pathways function continuously to make the products of the pathway. Each step in the pathway is catalyzed by an enzyme, or protein that speeds and regulates chemical reactions.


  • The products of the photosynthesis biochemical pathway are glucose and oxygen gas.


  • Biochemical pathways can be anabolic, catabolic or both.

Catabolic Pathways

  • Catabolic biochemical pathways involve the breakdown of complex compounds into simpler ones. Catabolic pathways release energy that can power anabolic pathways.

Anabolic Pathways

  • Anabolic biochemical pathways involve the synthesis of complex compounds from simpler ones. Photosynthesis is an anabolic biochemical pathway since light energy is used to synthesize a complex molecule, glucose, from simpler ones (carbon dioxide and water).


  • Photo Credit "Ferns - Avenefica" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: Avia Venefica (A. Venefica) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.
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