Chemosynthesis: Definition & Equation

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  • 0:02 Energy for Life
  • 1:01 Chemosynthesis in Nature
  • 2:10 Equation
  • 3:10 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Dominic Corsini
This lesson introduces the concept of chemosynthesis. It explains that energy is necessary for all life and provides a description of the chemosynthetic process. The lesson also includes examples of where chemosynthesis occurs in nature along with a brief quiz.

Energy for Life

What was the last meal you ate? Any idea what it did for your body? Chances are that meal provided your body with the energy necessary for life. All living things on Earth need energy in order to survive. However, how life forms obtain their energy various. People obtain this energy by consuming other organisms, such as with your last meal. On the other hand, plants are capable of obtaining energy directly from the sun through the process of photosynthesis.

These two energy-obtaining pathways are probably somewhat familiar to you. However, there is another, less familiar method for obtaining energy. This method is known as chemosynthesis and, as known biological processes go, it's relatively new, at least when compared to photosynthesis and consuming food. Chemosynthesis is characterized by using inorganic molecules to aid in the conversion of carbon molecules into organic matter. Sound confusing? Let's try to clarify the concept with an example.

Chemosynthesis in Nature

Found deep within the ocean are structures known as hydrothermal vents. These vents produce a seemingly toxic compound, known as hydrogen sulfide. I say 'seemingly' because hydrogen sulfide is toxic to humans, but not to all life. In fact, living amidst the hydrothermal vents are organisms called giant tube worms.

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