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Photosynthesis: Electron transport chain Virtual Lab

Discover the process of photosynthesis by jumping inside a plant cell. Observe the electron transport chain in action. How is light converted to chemical energy?

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Photosynthesis: Electron transport chain

About this Simulation

This short, targeted simulation is adapted from the full-length “Electron Transport Chain” simulation.

How does photosynthesis work? In this simulation, you will observe the inner workings of the electron transport chain inside a plant cell and learn about the process of photosynthesis. Watch electrons flow and molecules move during each step of the electron transport chain. How can a photon of light be converted into chemical energy?

Look inside a chloroplast

To understand how photosynthesis works, you will shrink to a tiny size and go inside the plant cell of a leaf. Travel further inside the cell into the chloroplast, and then look at the thylakoid membrane. The process of photosynthesis takes place here. Observe the different components of the electron transport chain, from the start of the chain at photosystem II, to the end of the chain at ATP synthase. Now it’s time to start the process!

Start the electron transport chain

Start the process by clicking on a photon of light. Watch as the photon goes into photosystem II and excites an electron. The electron will then move to the plastoquinone. Continue through each step in the electron transport chain. You will be able to see electrons and protons moving, water molecules splitting, and the ATP synthase spinning around to pump protons and produce ATP. A final review of the process will help you to remember the key steps before you return to the lab.

Review your knowledge

Now you have watched the animation, you can answer some questions about photosynthesis. Can you remember the key components and steps in the electron transport chain?

Learning Objectives

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to:

  • Understand the importance and uses of photosynthesis

  • Understand the photolysis of water and electron transport

Techniques in Lab

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to:

  • Concept-based simulation

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