Carbon Cycle - Research Article from Macmillan Science Library: Plant Sciences

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The Path of Carbon

To illustrate some of the important processes of the carbon cycle one can follow a carbon atom as it moves through the biogeochemical reservoirs of the cycle. Begin with a carbon atom that is in the atmosphere in the form of CO2. In the atmosphere CO2 is the fifth most abundant gas, behind nitrogen (N2), oxygen (O2), argon (Ar), and water vapor (H2 O). Nevertheless, of every million molecules of air, fewer than four hundred are CO2.

The CO2 molecule contacts the leaf of an apple tree. It is removed from the air by the process of photosynthesis, also called carbon fixation, whereby plants use light energy from the Sun and water from the soil to convert CO2 to carbohydrate (sugar) and O2 gas. The carbohydrate may be converted to other compounds that the plant needs to grow and reproduce. The carbon atom may...

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This section contains 1,823 words
(approx. 7 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Carbon Cycle Encyclopedia Article
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Macmillan Science Library: Plant Sciences
Carbon Cycle from Macmillan Science Library: Plant Sciences. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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