Effect of Different Shades of Light on Photosynthesis

Madeleine Williams, Emily Waters, Meranda Golbek, Jillian Wormington


Photosynthesis is one of the most substantial attainments of life on Earth (Hohmann-Marriott, 2012). Without this process, life would almost cease to exist. Photosynthesis by plants and algae provides us with food, fuel, and chemicals. This process also helps to maintain the O2:CO2 balance in the atmosphere surrounding us (Rao, 1995). Plants are most effective in carrying out the process of photosynthesis under white light, which includes all wavelengths. While plants take in all colors and wavelengths of light, some colors affect the plant species more than others (Sanchez, 2014). Due to the chlorophyll present within the plant cells, plants absorb all light and reflect green light (French, 2014). Therefore, different light colors have an effect on photosynthesis and respiration rates.  Algae perform photosynthesis very quickly.  If the algae grow under the green LED light and in complete darkness, then they will produce less oxygen and cells than under the white LED light, due to the inefficiency of photosynthesis.  However, although photosynthetic activity and presence of algae in each sample is limited by the decomposition by fungi also present in the samples, the hypothesis was supported in that a continual increase in cell count and dissolved oxygen were found in each sample. Overall, the highest cell count of algae and dissolved oxygen levels were present under the white LED light. 

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