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The question I am having trouble with is:

Scientists originally were uncertain whether the oxygen gas produced during photosynthesis came from CO2, H2O, or from both. How could radioisotope tracers be used to settle that question?

Chemistry - DrBob222

6CO2 + 6H2O ==> C6H12O6 + 6O2
Make O in CO2 radioactive; see where the radioactive O is at the end.
Make O in H2O radioactive; see where the radioactive O is at the end.

I'm sorry DrBob, I still don't understand what I am supposed to do. I wrote out the equations, but when you say to make the certain elements reactive, I'm not sure what you mean. Thank you for helping me!

  • chemistry - ,

    The idea is to use an isotope of O or make O radioactive and use that to produce CO2 or H2O (that is make O different so you can find it). Then (if you made O radioactive) measure the glucose and the O2 and see if the O2 is radioactive or if the glucose is radioactive. Let's say you make some radioactive O and use that to make CO2. Go through the process of photosynthesis, measure with a radioactive counter the glucose and the O2. If the O2 comes from the CO2, the O2 produced by photosynthesis will be radioactive. Repeat using H2O that has radioactive O incorporated in it. It's the same thing as hiding a radioactive pellet in your clothes. A person with a Geiger counter can wave a "counting wand" over your clothes and see where the radioactive pellet has been hidden.

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