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Use the diagram to discuss with your partners the problems of environmental pollution.
45. Read the following text carefully in order to discover the main line of thought and make a plan for writing a summary:
The earth’s oxygen content is maintained by plants. Plants use a process called photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide and water molecules into carbohydrate and oxygen molecules. Carbohydrates are a broad class of molecules ranging from the cellulose that gives the plant its rigidity to the sugars that provide energy for the plant and for the animals that eat it. Since the carbohydrate and oxygen molecules contain more chemical potential energy than the carbon dioxide and water molecules from which they’re produced, the plant needs an input of energy to carry out the conversion. In the process of photosynthesis, this energy is provided by sunlight.
Plants absorb light in brightly coloured photosynthetic pigments, such as the green chemical chlorophyll, and these chemicals use the light’s energy to perform chemical reactions. In effect, photosynthesis is the opposite of combustion. While it’s easy to burn wood in oxygen to form water and carbon dioxide, it’s much harder to use light energy to turn carbon dioxide and water into wood and oxygen.
Nonetheless, plants have developed very capable mechanisms for performing this reverse-combustion process. Without plants, the earth’s atmosphere would quickly become depleted of oxygen.
Much of the effort to reduce deforestation throughout the world is motivated by a desire to keep the atmosphere’s oxygen level high and its carbon dioxide level low. Plants are able to use light energy to induce chemical reactions in part because light is emitted and absorbed in discrete packets of energy.
Each time it absorbs a packet of light energy, a photon, the photosynthetic chemical takes a step toward converting carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrate and oxygen. The energy in a photon is related to the wavelength of the light — long wavelength infrared light is absorbed or emitted as small packets of energy while short wavelength ultraviolet light is absorbed or emitted as large packets of energy. Visible light falls somewhere in between and has the right range of photon energies to support photosynthesis.
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