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Question About Plants

  1. Sep 18, 2003 #1
    My Dad bought a lot of plants so now our house is like full of them. But yesterday he was wondering if he made a mistake. Since plants use the oxygen in our house at night (since there is no light), my Dad's afraid that the plants will use up all the oxygen in our house and that we will suffocate. I told him that won't happen....but he doesn't really believe me. So what should I say to him?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 18, 2003 #2

    haha! sorry, i shouldn't be laughing, but you and your parents seem to be grossly misinformed.

    First of all, plants don't need oxygen, they use carbon dioxide (CO2) and excrete oxygen. So, they are actually purifying your air. Also, your house is not air tight enough for that to happen. That is why you don't sufficate. What if the residents of your house use up all the oxygen?

  4. Sep 18, 2003 #3


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    Actually, this is not entirely accurate. Most plant life do use aerobic respiration - the CO2 stage is the productiong of storable starch/glucose - the actual respiration often still uses oxygen. However, plants generally produce more oxygen than they take in. But examine a plant in the abscence of light and you can see the reduction on oxygen levels.

    But this reduction in oxygen levels is very small, and pretty slow - plants don't use much energy. And humans can live in much lower oxygen environments than normal. Consider this: the atomsphere of the whole earth is essentially a room with plants and a few animals. Why don't we run out of oxygen?

    This isn't really right either. Air is a mixture of gases. It doesn't get purified.
  5. Sep 18, 2003 #4
    I suppose if he wanted the long drawn out answer then yes, they do use oxygen. one example is at the end of the ETC when the hydrogen is joined with two oxygen molecules.
    I didn't mean it was really "purifying" the air, like a filter, i was trying to get accross the point that it takes in an unbreathable substance and turns it into something that was can breath in.

    I apologize. I should have phrased it better.

  6. Sep 18, 2003 #5


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    "Sleep on it."
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