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The Discovery of Photosynthesis

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´╗┐Discovery of Photosynthesis Scientists had to be content only with theories on how plants created energy for many years Scientists have been able to prove that photosynthesis takes place and see how it affects plant structures because of the modern equipment available. However, some of the leading scientists in the world were able to gradually form a theory of photosynthesis before all the facts were known, building on each other's work over a period of more than 50 years. The discovery of the principles of photosynthesis first began with the work of Jan Baptista Van Helmont, a Flemish chemist whose work was published after his death in 1644. ...read more.


Helmont concluded, incorrectly, that the tree was in fact using and keeping the water inside its tissues to grow. In the 1770s, a British scientist named Joseph Preistly carried the experiment one step further by discovering that a plant could add oxygen to the air. It was already known that flames needed air to burn, and somehow used up air in an enclosed space, but Preistly discovered that by placing part of a mint plant into such a closed container the air could be renewed, leading to a longer life for the flame. Preistly did not fully understand the reasons behind this process, but his work inspired later scientists. ...read more.


Saussure used this information and repeated the Helmont experiment, this time keeping track of the carbon dioxide and the water the plant was exposed to. He reasoned that the plant received carbon from carbon dioxide and hydrogen from water. All the pieces were now present, but it took Julius Robert von Mayer, a German scientist, to actually come up with the first theory of photosynthesis, explaining how plants took all these elements and fused them into simple sugars. Although he was most notably a physicist, Mayer's theories on energy led him to conclude that plants used the energy from sunlight to create the energy found in plant cells. He suggested this possibility in the 1840s Mohammed Rashid 10XY1 Science Ms Samakuva Room 128 ...read more.

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