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Unit 1. The Cellular Foundation of Life

Chapter 5: Introduction to Photosynthesis

This photo shows a sage thrasher eating a berry.

Figure 5.1 This sage thrasher’s diet, like that of almost all organisms, depends on photosynthesis. (credit: modification of work by Dave Menke, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)


No matter how complex or advanced a machine, such as the latest cellular phone, the device cannot function without energy. Living things, similar to machines, have many complex components; they too cannot do anything without energy, which is why humans and all other organisms must “eat” in some form or another. That may be common knowledge, but how many people realize that every bite of every meal ingested depends on the process of photosynthesis?

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Chapter 5: Introduction to Photosynthesis by Charles Molnar and Jane Gair is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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