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photosynthesisPhotosynthese (ger.)

  • The process (or series of processes) by which the energy of light absorbed by chlorophyll is utilized by plants for the synthesis of complex organic compounds from carbon dioxide, with the accompanying oxidation of water to form oxygen. Also: any of various similar processes by which the energy of light is converted to chemical energy for biosynthesis in bacteria, often involving alternative sources of carbon and not resulting in the generation of oxygen. (OED)

    [For the process of formation of complex carbon compounds out of simple ones under the influence of light, I propose that the term photosyntax be used.

    Barnes, C.R. (1893). On the food of green plants. Bot. Gaz. 18, 403-411: 409.]


    Photosyntax vs. photosynthesis.—It was stated that the word photosyntax, proposed in 1893 by the speaker, but objected to by Professor MacMillan as etymologically bad, had been resubmitted to three competent Greek scholars and pronounced by all to be linguistically unobjectionable and accurately expressive of the process of carbohydrate formation as now understood.

    Barnes, C.R. (1896). Photosyntax vs. photosynthesis. Botanical Papers at Buffalo. Bot. Gaz. 22: 248; cf. id. (1898). So-called “assimilation”. Bot. Centralbl. 76, 257-259. 


    In Hinsicht auf die betreibenden Energiemittel wird man also allgemein, je nach den obwaltenden Verhältnissen von Photosynthese, Thermosynthese, Chemosynthese, Elektrosynthese u.s.w. reden.

    Pfeffer, W. (1881/97-1904). Pflanzenphysiologie. Ein Handbuch der Lehre vom Stoffwechsel und Kraftwechsel in der Pflanze, 2 vols.: I, 273.


    ich möchte vorschlagen, wenn man Assimilation im Sinne Pfeffer's brauchen will, für die Kohlenstoffassimilation konsequent das Wort Photosynthese zu benützen.

    Hansen, A. (1898). [Rev. Pfeffer, W. (1881/97-1904). Pflanzenphysiologie]. Botan. Zeitung 56 (II), 22-4: 22.

    Photosynthesis is a series of processes in which electromagnetic energy is converted to chemical free energy which can be used for biosynthesis
    Kamen, M.D. (1963). Primary Processes in Photosynthesis; cf. Gest, H. (1993). Photosynthetic and quasi-photosynthetic bacteria. FEMS Microbiol. Lett. 112, 1-6.

    photosynthesis The biochemical process thatutilizes radiant energy from sunlight to synthesize carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water in the presence of chlorophyll; photosyntheticcf. chemosynthesis.

    Lincoln, R.J., Boxshall, G.A. & Clark, P.F. (1982). A Dictionary of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics: 190.

Gest, H. (2002). History of the word photosynthesis and evolution of its definition. Photsynth. Res. 73, 7-10.