Nature's smallest factory: The Calvin cycle - Cathy Symington - Lake Harding Association

Nature’s smallest factory: The Calvin cycle – Cathy Symington

Nature’s smallest factory: The Calvin cycle – Cathy Symington

By Micah Moen 100 Comments January 2, 2020


You’re facing a giant bowl of energy packed Carbon Crunchies. One spoonful. Two. Three. Soon, you’re powered up by the energy surge that comes from your meal. But how did that energy get into your bowl? Energy exists in the form of sugars made by the plant your cereal came from, like wheat or corn. As you can see, carbon is the chemical backbone, and plants get their fix of it in the form of carbon dioxide, CO2, from the air that we all breath. But how does a plant’s energy factory, housed in the stroma of the chloroplast, turn a one carbon gas, like CO2, into a six carbon solid, like glucose? If you’re thinking photosynthesis, you’re right. But photosynthesis is divided into two steps. The first, which stores energy from the sun in the form of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. And the second, the Calvin cycle, that captures carbon and turns it into sugar. This second phase represents one of nature’s most sustainable production lines. And so with that, welcome to world’s most miniscule factory. The starting materials? A mix of CO2 molecules from the air, and preassembled molecules called ribulose biphosphate, or RuBP, each containing five carbons. The initiator? An industrious enzyme named rubisco that welds one carbon atom from a CO2 molecule with the RuBP chain to build an initial six carbon sequence. That rapidly splits into two shorter chains containing three carbons each and called phosphoglycerates, or PGAs, for short. Enter ATP, and another chemical called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate, or just NADPH. ATP, working like a lubricant, delivers energy, while NADPH affixes one hydrogen to each of the PGA chains, changing them into molecules called glyceraldehyde 3 phosphates, or G3Ps. Glucose needs six carbons to form, made from two molecules of G3P, which incidentally have six carbons between them. So, sugar has just been manufactured, right? Not quite. The Calvin cycle works like a sustainable production line, meaning that those original RuBPs that kicked things off at the start, need to be recreated by reusing materials within the cycle now. But each RuBP needs five carbons and manufacturing glucose takes a whole six. Something doesn’t add up. The answer lies in one phenomenal fact. While we’ve been focusing on this single production line, five others have been happening at the same time. With six conveyor belts moving in unison, there isn’t just one carbon that gets soldered to one RuBP chain, but six carbons soldered to six RuBPs. That creates 12 G3P chains instead of just two, meaning that all together, 36 carbons exist: the precise number needed to manufacture sugar, and rebuild those RuBPs. Of the 12 G3Ps pooled together, two are siphoned off to form that energy rich six carbon glucose chain. The one fueling you via your breakfast. Success! But back on the manufacturing line, the byproducts of this sugar production are swiftly assembled to recreate those six RuBPs. That requires 30 carbons, the exact number contained by the remaining 10 G3PS. Now a molecular mix and match occurs. Two of the G3Ps are welded together forming a six carbon sequence. By adding a third G3P, a nine carbon chain is built. The first RuBP, made up of five carbons, is cast from this, leaving four carbons behind. But there’s no wastage here. Those are soldered to a fourth G3P molecule, making a seven carbon chain. Added to a fifth G3P molecule, a ten carbon chain is created, enough now to craft two more RuBPs. With three full RuBPs recreated from five of the ten G3Ps, simply duplicating this process will renew the six RuBP chains needed to restart the cycle again. So the Calvin cycle generates the precise number of elements and processes required to keep this biochemical production line turning endlessly. And it’s just one of the 100s of cycles present in nature. Why so many? Because if biological production processes were linear, they wouldn’t be nearly as efficient or successful at using energy to manufacture the materials that nature relies upon, like sugar. Cycles create vital feedback loops that repeatedly reuse and rebuild ingredients crafting as much as possible out of the planet’s available resources. Such as that sugar, built using raw sunlight and carbon converted in plant factories to become the energy that powers you and keeps the cycles revolving in your own life.

100 Comments found

User

J97 OFFICIAL

what a wonderful lesson!

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User

Pessimistical Optimist

Thank you ted-ed
This 5 mins video made me understand something I never understood in the last 3 years!

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User

Suparna Basak

Addison Anderson- excellent lingual usage to make things clearer and more connectable to the visuals.
Fleming Medusa Studios- I must say , the Lord has gifted you this special creativity to help average students like us find the subject interesting.
God bless you, y'all are so talented and creative. Students of your schools are really privileged.

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User

hymnz100

So far the video that made it very easy to understand. Thank you 🙏🏼

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ronak shah

Remember, this all happened by itself without human intelligence. Infect, it took too much human intelligence to figure this out…..

Nature is so complex…….and too too much time to evolve….and i guess thats why their systems are stable…..

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King Me

so they only use on glucose molecule made for food and energy while the rest of the g3p are recycled to create RuBp

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User

Nguyen Tanthien

So verrechnet Sie an Kinders Farbe…….

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User

Nguyen Tanthien

Wo man sich als Hydraulische braucht & Hydrogen……Asthmastist mit Kinders…….Zum Glückliches die Kinders schon Erwachsen….

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User

smart eye

Is it science or maths 🤓🤓

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User

Aashi Gupta

Thank you sir

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User

김민규

생화 화이팅

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User

Nocralax Carrion

Nose

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User

Nocralax Carrion

Si

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User

Nocralax Carrion

No

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HerrXenon

Watched this for a pronunciation dispute with my teacher over the world "Calvin", as a non-English speaker.

I won.

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User

Gokul Krishnan

Fentastic 👍👍👍👏👏👏

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User

10000 subs with out having any videos

Any one else get distracted in the comments…

And gonna have to watch it all over again

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User

One of them

What's more interesting is that all this came into existence by pure coincidence !!!.

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User

TECHNO BOYS

ribulose bisphosphate, not ribulose biphosphate

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User

AM 4444

Kerb cycle?

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User

So

Why did a 5 min video explain it better than my professor's 2 hours long lecture?

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Parmi Chaudhari

This is best it cleared up my concepts 😁

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Andy Garag

Ohhhh I get it

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Kawthar Bakhach

this actually made perfect sense thank you!!!

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User

Saptarsi Mondal

Anderson, your voice is a real teacher

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User

LaRager

I was holding a bowl of cornflakes in milk when I started this video. Weird!

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User

B-Cubed

Who else just zones out and once you focus again you don't know where he is and keeps watching this video again and again…🥵

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User

Al- Sirat

even plants are nerd.
just kidding

everything is a blessing of ALMIGHTY ALLAH.

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User

Menno Dokter

Krijgen deze mensen wel het minimumloon? Hoe zijn de arbeidsvoorwaarden? CAO? Kinderarbeid? Walgelijk.

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Selena Sanchez

this was very helpful. thank you <3

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User

Pratapa Mahapatra

Where is ur light reaction I want to See….

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Andrew Pham

Even plants know math lol!

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User

Erin Rooney

Just got a 3 on the AP bio test why am I here

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User

apm vetapalem

very excellent

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User

froggyNotGreen

The more you watch science videos the more you realise how much time you've spent studying engineering and not understanding anything at all.

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User

quantrill

Doesn't really explain it that well, its missing more than you can imagine.

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User

Unknown World

Best explanation in history of Calvin cycle explanation

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User

Angel C.

I learned 100x more here than my biotech teacher 😂 lol

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User

TaLoN-senpai

she looks like Wendy's

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Saitama kun

0:18

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User

Silpa Mukundan

Amazing..👍

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User

MyNH Phạm ngọc

Chu trình canvin

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User

Thirupathi Gajjela

Superb

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User

Prajakta Lade

Sir please tell the more information about photosynthesis 11 Class

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User

Calvin Vaughn

I like it!

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User

sincity147

The only thing that I don't like about this videos is the way cartoons depicting small creatures that has a conscience doing the chemical reactions – that is not TRUE there is no small creatures in these chemicals reactions with purpose and conscience.

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User

Solomon Waldmarck

If only I had found this video 2 years ago back when I was preparing for the final test of my last term of the high school

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User

Titus Helmi

In conclusion… I'm hard.

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User

H2OMobile

Lets call the Calvin cycle carbon cycle. Carbon Dioxide is a very important gas, we depend on it for life.

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Graeme Lastname

soLder !!!

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User

Michael Harris

Thanks for spreading knowledge. Found this helped my understand photosynthesis better as a layman.

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Daniel Grabaski

Masterpiece

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User

Dr M.Husain

Im downloading your vid i hope you wont mind thnx

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User

TubersAndPotatoes

I used to memorize the cycle diagram, can't remember any of it now. Did the video touch on C3, C4, and CAM plants for the cycle? It might have made more sense to actually show the whole diagram to see the bigger picture.

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User

Human Asdf

Ok. Now i hate science

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User

Josh Ng

everyone needs a thneed

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User

Reiven Wee

Why does it look like it took place in the move "Dr cuses the lorax"

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User

Emily Brown

Seriously, a big thank you from the bottom of my heart. I accidentally stumbled upon this courtesy to YouTube recombinations and it is precisely what I needed. Keep up the good work Ted Ed !!

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User

Sebastian Mora Taboada

Cloroplasts: the Stirling engines of microbiology

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User

Green Goblin from cory in the house

Hey,I remember studying this in highschool. Biology was fun.

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User

Bakugou Katsuki

Weeter?

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User

kennedy baines

I didnt follow this at all

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User

Toby Sullivan

epic

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User

Andrew Dote

Wendy's is sponsoring Carbon Crunchies

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User

Judy Ann

This helped me understand my report for tomorrow. Thank you! ♡

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User

عمرو حكواتي

شكرا

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User

WANDERSON PEREIRA

Podia ter o video em português

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User

հokцƽ ρokus

This is a damn good video. I have to replay this later

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MANAR

thanks very math now i understand this lesson

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User

suganthi pechikumar

Explanation at extreme level even though I am studying 11th I like to watch animated videos like this

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User

Stop. Get Help.

I learned more from this five minute tutorial than I learned in my bio class xD

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Susan Zhu

0:37 we don’t breath in CO2, we breath it out while we breath in oxygen

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Brigitte

OMG THANK YOUUU
YOU LITERALLY SAVE ME

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Marlon Silva

Please make the light reaction tooo Please!!!!!

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Abhishek Singh

Best one… Keep going ahead… God bless you dear

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Elite Diagnostic

Excellent… thanks 🙏

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User

Mark Everhart

This happens in plants, not humans lol. Why would humans make glucose?

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Francisco Rodas

Two people made this discovery. It should be the Calvin Benson Cycle

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Osman Akdeniz

turkish?

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Isabella Cuadra

MY SAVING GRACE

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Elvin Khalilov

Too complicated

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TehRainbowNoob

Isn't only one G3P released with the other five required to make Rubisco after it is used once?

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Lauren_elizabeth

huh

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molded rat

i just had an ah-ha moment

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Saad khan

I still not understand from midd

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Rodrigo Acevedo

I T
I S
R I B U L O S E
T I M E

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TehRainbowNoob

The creatures are actually really bad at their job. You don't know what I mean

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Azmatullah K

May God bless you with all his blessings. Ay this lesson's writer, reader and animation creator.

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Mr. Biologist

Just revising my biology knowledge. There is no exam soon😁

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alyssa chiu

Learned more from this than my 2 hr lecture

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Ritik yadav

Animinations were amazing

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chaimae army

thank you i now really undstand this procces so much thaaanks

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Jiya Gupta

the video was rlly helpful tysm

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hriddhi chakravarti

Thinking about ditching my bio classes …the teacher made it sound like "studying components of atom bomb" wheras its simply about munching carbon crunches

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JORDAN HARRSIO KLEIN

this is great one on the light reaction would be super helpful though

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User

이정현

한국어 자막을 만들어주셔서 감사합니다!

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Aditi pal

most explainatory and intresting video on calvin cycle…

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ethanboss987

And ATP and NADPH comes from the light reactions 🙂

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A-MAN

So….cooooool…

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Joshua Thomas

0:12 why is wendy's advertising carbon crunchies ?

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