The Balanced Chemical Equation for Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis Overall Chemical Reaction

In photosynthesis, carbon dioxide plus water and light produces sugar and oxygen.
In photosynthesis, carbon dioxide plus water and light produces sugar and oxygen. Frank Krahmer, Getty Images

Photosynthesis is the process in plants and certain other organisms that uses the energy from the sun to convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose (a sugar) and oxygen.

The overall balanced chemical equation for the reaction is:

6 CO+ 6 H2O → C6H12O+ 6 O2 

Where:
CO2 = carbon dioxide 
H2O = water
light is required
C6H12O6 = glucose
O2 = oxygen

In words, the equation may be stated as: Six carbon dioxide molecules and six water molecules react to produce one glucose molecule and six oxygen molecules.

The reaction requires energy in the form of light to overcome the activation energy needed for the reaction to proceed. Carbon dioxide and water don't spontaneously convert into glucose and oxygen.

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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "The Balanced Chemical Equation for Photosynthesis." ThoughtCo, Apr. 11, 2018, thoughtco.com/balanced-chemical-equation-for-photosynthesis-608903. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2018, April 11). The Balanced Chemical Equation for Photosynthesis. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/balanced-chemical-equation-for-photosynthesis-608903 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "The Balanced Chemical Equation for Photosynthesis." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/balanced-chemical-equation-for-photosynthesis-608903 (accessed April 26, 2018).