UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
Hello! I am doing a school project on trees. I saw your article on the question "How come plants produce oxygen even though they need oxygen for respiration?" I have a similar question. I am wondering if there is a way to make trees produce more oxygen. I know that they produce oxygen during their photosynthesis by using carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight but I wonder if there is any way to make them produce more by giving them large amounts of those things. Thank you for your consideration of my question.
Question Date: 2017-02-13
Answer 1:

Thank you for the great question.

As you correctly note, plants use sunlight to transform carbon dioxide in the air into food for the plant and oxygen in a process called photosynthesis. Some oxygen is kept by the plant, but the majority is released back into the air.

It looks like you are thinking about things that affect the speed of photosynthesis, which then affects how much oxygen plants produce. Scientists have determined three major factors that affect how much oxygen plants can make.

First, plants will photosynthesize faster when placed in stronger light. For example, plants on the equator receive more direct sunlight and therefore can produce oxygen faster.

Next, the speed of oxygen production depends on how much carbon dioxide is in the air. The more carbon dioxide that is available, the faster photosynthesis may occur. Increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the air results in plants making more oxygen. We see this happening because of global warming, where people are increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the air by using fossil fuels like oil and coal.

Last, the temperature of the air affects the speed of photosynthesis and oxygen production. The ideal temperature for photosynthesis, and oxygen production, is from 50 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Any colder or hotter actually slows down the speed of oxygen production.

Each of these factors can add up and affect the production of oxygen from photosynthesis.

Thank you again for the nice question.


Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2020 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use