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Word Count: 344
The carbon cycle is the system of biological and chemical processes that make carbon available to living things for use in tissue building and energy release Kinocensoreda 242 All living cells are composed of proteins consisting of carbon hydrogen oxygen and nitrogen in various combinations and each living organism puts these elements together according to its own genetic code To do this the organism must have these available in special compounds built around carbon These special compounds are produced only by plants by the process of photosynthesis Photosynthesis is a process in which chlorophyll traps and uses energy from the sun in the form of light Six molecules of carbon dioxide combine with six molecules of water to form one molecule of glucose sugar The glucose molecule consists of six atoms of carbon twelve of hydrogen and six of oxygen Six oxygen molecules consisting of two oxygen atoms each are also produced and are discharged into the atmospher e unless the plant needs energy to live In that case the oxygen combines with the glucose immediately releasing six molecules of carbon dioxide and six of water for each molecule of glucose Beggott 25-32 The carbon cycle is then completed as the plant obtains the energy that was stored by the glucose The length of time required to complete the cycle varies In plants without an immediate need for energy the chemical processes continue in a variety of ways By reducing the hydrogen and oxygen content of most of the sugar molecules by one water molecule and combining them to form large molecules plants produce substances such as starch inulin and fats and store them for future use Regardless of whether the stored food is used later by the plant or consumed by some other organism the molecules will ultimately be digested and oxidized and carbon dioxide and water will be discharged Other molecules of sugar undergo a series of chemical changes and are finally
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