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How do plants make food?

A diagram showing how photosynthesis worksA plant uses its green leaves to receive sunlight. The leaves also take in carbon dioxide from the air, while water and vital minerals and nutrients are soaked up from the soil through the roots. The sunlight energy joins the water and carbon dioxide together to make a sugar called glucose. As this happens, waste oxygen and water vapour pass from the leaves into the air. Living things, including ourselves, need oxygen to survive. Plants help to top up its level in the air.

A close-up view of a leaf, showing its veins


Photosynthesis happens in a plant’s leaves. These contain tiny tubes, called veins. Some bring water from the roots up into the leaf. Others deliver the sap—water containing the dissolved sugars produced by photosynthesis—to the rest of the plant.

The sequence of chemical changes in photosynthesis takes place in a millionth of a second.

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