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光合作用和食物的故事 – 译学馆
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光合作用和食物的故事

The simple story of photosynthesis and food

你曾好奇过你每天吃的那么多食物
Ever wonder where most of the food
到底从哪里来的吗
you eat every day comes from?
你吃下的食物中有60%
Well, about 60% of the food you eat
都是碳水化合物
is carbohydrates.
正如你从这个名字里所看见的一样
As you can probably tell from its name,
碳水化合物里含碳元素
carbohydrates contain carbon,
氢元素
hydrogen,
还有氧元素
and oxygen.
但这些粒子到底从哪里来
But where do these atoms originally come from
又是如何组合在一起
and how do they join together
从而形成像水果和面食这样的美味呢
to make delicious foods like fruits and pasta?
其实一切都要从
It actually all starts with the air
你现在呼出的空气说起
you are exhaling this very minute,
特别是里面的二氧化碳分子
specifically the carbon dioxide molecules.
植物将要依靠它们表皮上那些
Plants are going to breath in
小口来吸进二氧化碳分子
this very same carbon dioxide
这些小口被叫做“气孔”
through pores in their skin, called stomata.
植物还通过它们的根部来汲取水分
Plants drink in water from their roots
从而吸收所需的氢原子和氧原子
to get the needed oxygen and hydrogen atoms,
和它们之间的电子
and their electrons,
来构造碳水化合物
in order to build carbohydrates.
什么来合成的呢
What is that thing?
是一种特殊的植物细胞器
Well, that’s a special plant organelle
它就在植物的叶子里面
inside the leaves of plants
被称作“叶绿体”
called a chloroplast.
叶绿素这种特别的捕光色素
It’s green beceause of a special light-absorbing pigment
使得植物呈现绿色
called chlorophyll.
每片叶子都含有约44,0 00个细胞
Each leaf has about 44,000 cells
每个细胞中散布有
and every cell can have anywhere
20到100个叶绿体
between 20 to 100 chloroplasts.
也就是说每片叶子多达4,40 0,00 0个叶绿体
That’s up to 4,400,000 chloroplasts!
现在你大概已经猜出
By now, you’ve probably guessed
接下来我们要谈及的就是光合作用的过程
that we’re talking about the process of photosynthesis
或许你想知道
and you might be wondering
阳光是何时参与进光合作用的
when the sun is going to make its entrance.
谈回到原先的水分子
Let’s go back to that original molecule of water.
植物必须对这个水分子进行分解
The plant has to split this molecule of water
才能得到里面的电子
so it can get electrons from it.
但是植物不能够靠自身分解水分子
But, the plant can’t pull that water apart by itself.
它需要来自太阳的高能光线来帮助完成
It needs help from the high-energy rays of the sun.
然后叶绿体就得到了接下来所需的所有构建模块
So now that the chloroplast has all the building blocks
碳氢氧三种元素以及电子
– carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and electrons –
叶绿体可以利用这些东西来进行
it can use them to go through
光合作用的后续步骤
the rest of the steps of photosynthesis
从而把起初的二氧化碳气体
to transform that original carbon dioxide gas
转化成一种叫做葡萄糖的单糖
into a simple carbohydrate called glucose,
C-6-H-12-O-6
C-6-H-12-O-6.
这小分子的葡萄糖会帮助
That little glucose molecule then helps to build
构成更大以及更复杂的多糖
bigger and better carbohydrates
比如纤维素
like cellulose.
纤维素是一种只存在于植物中的碳水化合物
Cellulose is a type of carbohydrate found in plants
有它在我们的身体才保持健康
that our body cannot break down.
我们称它为“纤维”
We call it fiber
我们可以从蔬菜中摄取 如莴苣
and we eat it in vegetables like lettuce,
西兰花
broccoli,
还有芹菜
and celery.
植物靠着纤维素保持坚韧
Plants use cellulose to keep themselves strong.
植物还能把葡萄糖转化为淀粉
The plant could also turn that glucose into starch,
淀粉是一种能为植物贮藏大量能量的大分子
a large molecule that stores energy for the plant.
我们都爱从这些农作物中吸收淀粉 如土豆
We love eating starch from plants like potatoes,
玉米
corn,
还有米饭
and rice.
所以你明白了 当你吃农作物的时候
So you see, when you eat plants,
实际上是得益于光合作用
we’re actually benefiting from photosynthesis.
植物能合成很多东西
The plant makes things like starch,
如我们吃的淀粉
which we eat
然后淀粉又水解恢复成
and then break back down into
植物最初合成的葡萄糖
glucose, the first form the plant made.
然后我们细胞中的线粒体
Then, the mitochondria in our cells,
以我们呼吸进的氧气为动力
powered by the oxygen we breath,
将葡萄糖转化为能量分子
can turn glucose into pure energy molecules
这些分子也被称作ATP(能量)
called ATP.
你身体中的每个细胞
ATP powers all work done
都用ATP来完成大量工作
by each and every one of your cells,
如信息交流
things like communication,
细胞活动
movement,
还有运输
and transport.
但为什么我们一定要把葡萄糖转化为ATP呢
But why do we have to turn that glucose into ATP?
可以把事情想象成这样
Well, think of it like this.
你正兴致勃勃地开始
You’re excited to start your summer job
在当地冰淇淋店的暑假工
at the local ice cream stand,
但是你的老板却告诉你
but your boss has just told you
她会用冰淇淋代替工资支付给你
that she is going to pay you in ice cream cones.
那么你又能
What are you going to be able to do
用那些冰淇淋做什么呢
with those ice cream cones?
什么都不能
Nothing,
这就是为什么你会要求以金钱作为报酬
which is why you kindly asked to be paid in dollars.
ATP就比作金钱
ATP is just like dollars.
是生命体中细胞所使用的通用货币
It is the currency that all cells of life use
而葡萄糖就
while glucose is,
有点像那些冰淇淋了
well, kind of like ice cream.
就算是植物也会用细胞中的线粒体
Even plants have mitochondria in their cells
把葡萄糖分解成ATP
to break down the glucose they make into ATP.
所以若你所见
So as you can see,
人类和植物是错综复杂地关联在一起的
humans and plants are intricately connected.
我们呼出的空气
The air we breath out
被植物利用进行合成
is used by plants to make the carbohydrates
我们享用的碳水化合物
we enjoy so much.
在光合作用的过程中
And, in the process,
它们还释放了那些
they are releasing the very same oxygen molecules
我们需要吸进的氧气分子
we need to breath in
从而达到让线粒体去消化分解
in order that our mitochondria can break down
我们吃的那些美味的碳水化合物类膳食
our delicous carbohydrate meal.

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