Photosynthesis is a two part process, the light and dark reactions. The conversion of light, air and water into nutrition and oxygen is represented by the following the chemical equation:
This reaction begins with carbon dioxide taken from the air and water absorbed from the soil. Within the plant, special structures called chloroplasts contain sunlight-absorbing pigments. The energy converted by these pigments from certain wavelenghts of sunlight powers the conversion of air and water to oxygen, which is released to the environment, and to a sugar called glucose, which is an excellent storage molecule for energy.
There is also a process that occurs in many plants known as photorespiration, that limits their growth rates. There are two important adaptations to minimize this process called C4 photosynthesis and CAM.