Question Video: Recognizing the Overall Balanced Symbol Equation for Photosynthesis Biology

Which of the following is the correct balanced symbol equation for photosynthesis? [A] 6CO₂ + C₆H₁₂O₆ ⟶ 6H₂O + 6O₂ [B] C₆H₁₂O₆ + 6O₂ ⟶ 6CO₂ + 6H₂O [C] 6CO₂ + 6H₂O ⟶ C₆H₁₂O₆ + 6O₂ [D] 6O₂ + 6H₂O ⟶ C₆H₁₂O₆ + 6CO₂


Video Transcript

Which of the following is the correct balanced symbol equation for photosynthesis?

This question presents us with four options for chemical equations for photosynthesis that use chemical symbols. We need to choose the one that’s correct in that the products and the reactants are in the correct places and also ensure that the chemical equation is balanced. Meaning that there are the same numbers of each type of atom on the left side of the arrow and on the right.

In order to answer this question, we’re first going to recall the word equation for photosynthesis, and then we’re gonna convert it into the correct and appropriate chemical symbols. Then, we’ll make sure that it’s properly balanced so that we can easily choose the correct answer.

Let’s recall that photosynthesis is a process carried out by plants, in which water absorbed through the roots from the soil and carbon dioxide absorbed from the air through the leaves is converted using the energy found in light into oxygen, which, luckily for us, is released into the air through the leaves, and glucose, which is consumed by some other organisms. And the plant uses for cellular respiration as well as the production of various other molecules.

Now, we have all the information we need to generate our word equation, which reads carbon dioxide and water are converted into glucose and oxygen. Now, we can replace each of these terms with the correct chemical symbol to get the symbol equation. The chemical symbol for carbon dioxide is CO2. The chemical symbol for water is H2O. The chemical symbol for glucose is C6H12O6. And the chemical symbol for oxygen is O2.

Here, I’ve drawn the molecules in this symbol equation to show that right now it’s not balanced. There are many more atoms of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen in the products than there are in the reactants. In order to make the two sides equal, we need to add some coefficients. Luckily for us, it’s pretty easy to remember all of the coefficients for the smaller molecules are six. Glucose is a relatively large molecule, and there’s only one in this balanced chemical equation.

Now, if you were to count up all of the carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms on each side of the chemical equation, you’d see that the numbers are equal. And so, the chemical equation is balanced. So now, we’re ready to choose our answer. The correct balanced symbol equation for photosynthesis is 6CO2 plus 6H2O is converted into C6H12O6 plus 6O2.

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