Introduction for Plant Pigments and Photosynthesis


This lesson will examine the two major classes of phototsynthetic pigments, chlorophylls and carotenoids, their biochemical structures and their biosynthesis. The organization of these pigments into photosynthetic pigments, which are protein complexes that harvest light and convert its energy into biochemical energy will be explained.


At the completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Understand the importance of conjugated double-bond systems in pigments
  • Relate the first and second excited singlet states to a pigment’s absorption spectrum
  • Understand photophosphorylation as the coupling of photochemistry to photosynthetic electron transfer
  • Describe the photosynthetic apparatus in terms of two photosystems
  • Understand that CO2 fixation relies upon the ATP and NADPH produced by photophosphorylation
Peer Reviewed Web Lesson JNRLSE Approved 2003

Development of this lesson was supported in part by Cooperative State Research, Education, & Extension Service, U.S. Dept of Agriculture under Agreement Number 98-EATP-1-0403 administered by Cornell University and the American Distance Education Consortium (ADEC). Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This manuscript has been assigned Journal Series NO. 03-9, College of Agricultural Sciences and natural Resources, University of Nebraska.