Where does oxygen come from?

Wilhelmina
Wilhelmina
December 25, 2014
Where does oxygen come from?

Every day we breathe oxygen. Oxygen is necessary to sustain life on Earth. You will learn more about oxygen from our article What is oxygen. It is also the most common element in nature. The lack of oxygen leads to various diseases, for example, hypoxia (for more details, see the article What is hypoxia).

Today we will talk more about where oxygen comes from.

Photosynthesis

As you know, oxygen is produced by green plants during photosynthesis. Photosynthesis occurs in the green parts of the plant, where the most pigment is chlorophyll. In order for photosynthesis to occur, two elements are needed: solar energy and water. Using the energy of the sun, the plant absorbs carbon dioxide from the air, and under the action of the energy of the sun, this gas reacts with water, which the plant absorbs by its roots from the earth. The products of photosynthesis are carbohydrates that feed the plants themselves, and the oxygen we need as well.Plants have been found to emit approximately 6 tons of oxygen per ton of substance consumed for respiration.

You can make this formula photosynthesis: water + carbon dioxide + solar energy = carbohydrates + oxygen.

However, it is wrong to think that only land plants emit oxygen. In fact, the lion's share of oxygen (more than 80%) emit algae in the seas and oceans. These blue-green algae or phytoplankton deliver oxygen to the Earth’s atmosphere through the water column. That is why it is more correct to call the oceans and seas "the lungs of our planet."