Originally posted by godservant
How does it work? A tree, for example, has atoms specific to wood among others. Where do these wood atoms come from if you can't modify existing
atoms nor create new ones? Simply, where do the atoms that make up wood come from? How could it pull it from the ground when the ground is without
I don't know much about how atoms work, and I can very well be proven wrong here. I am merely inquiring.
Wood doesn't arise from nothing, and it's not a spontaneous creation of atoms. This is not rearrangement of atoms. Physics rearranges atom; biology
rearranges electrons and other molecular, not atomic structures. There's no such thing as wood atoms. There's no such thing as wood molecules. Wood
is a mixture of component molecules. You can't break wood down into a single simple unit. Wood and other products of primary production are the
result of natural processes entirely. Perhaps you learned about the carbon cycle at some point in your life?
Either way... wood comes from a variety of things cellulose, lignins, etc. We'll discuss cellulose whose structure and synthesis I am most familiar
Cellulose is basically sugar molecules arranged in such away as to make them unavailable for digestion and subsequent metabolism by organisms like us.
Sugar molecules are one of the primary products of a process called photosynthesis. Photosynthesis creates sugar molecules via the reduction (believe
it or not in this case, reduction means adding something) of Carbon Dioxide. Photosynthesis provides the energy that creates sugar molecules from CO2
and Water. The sugar molecules are then arranged around the plant cell to create a rigid structure known as cell wall. These cell walls, and other
specialized apparatus including the xylem and phloem are also ususally constructed of cellulose.
You can see the reverse reaction everytime you eat sugar and exhale carbon dioxide. In this case what you're doing is oxidizing sugar molecules back
down to CO2 and H2O, in the process harnessing the energy released via the breaking of chemical bonds. Same thing when you burn wood. You're
releasing the CO2 that the plant collected over the years back into the atmosphere... hence the description Carbon Cycle. This is why plants need
water. Yes, it's true plants don't extract wood from the ground... but did you consider why plants die when you don't water them? Wood is a mixture
assembled by woody plants via the synergistic coupling of multiple anabolic processes.
It's not magic... It's science that's been worked out and well known for decades.