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Biology 10, Lesson 80 – Is the Calvin Cycle Light-Dependent?

Photosynthesis is the process of plants turning light energy into chemical energy for themselves.  There are several cycles that are light dependent, but the Calvin Cycle is the only cycle that is supposed to not need light to process and create energy.  Is this true?

The Calvin Cycle is unique because it does not depend on light, unlike other photosynthesis cycles, but many can argue the Calvin Cycle is indirectly dependent on light.  The Calvin Cycle is started, or triggered, by ATP (adenosine 5′-triphosphate) and NADPH (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate hydrogen), which are molecules that are created from light-dependent reactions.  Without these molecules, the Calvin Cycle would not be able to start.

For those who do not know, ATP is an energy molecule.  All life forms, not only plants, need ATP to survive.  For humans, without ATP we would not be able to move or think because we would not have energy.  NADPH is a product of the first phase, or level, of photosynthesis.  It is the trigger for the second phase of photosynthesis.

As you can see, the Calvin Cycle is not directly dependent on light, but still needs it.  This proves that photosynthesis is not possible without some form of light.

Thanks for reading!


Author: sophiaelahirpc

10th Grade student in the Ron Paul Curriculum. Full-time teen writer living in Singapore.

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