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Calvin Cycle

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  • Last Updated : 25 Aug, 2022
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The second stage of photosynthesis is known as the Calvin cycle, or the light-independent reactions. The transformation of Carbon dioxide to carbohydrates is called Calvin Cycle or C3 cycle and is named after Melvin Calvin who found it. The plants that go through the Calvin cycle for carbon fixation are called C3 plants. The Calvin cycle is a progression of reactions that happens in the stoma of chloroplasts in a plant cell. The chemical reactions convert carbon dioxide into glucose with the assistance of ATP and NADPH. These reactions occur in the stoma, the inward space or fluid-filled region of a chloroplast. Dissimilar to other light reactions, this occurs outside the thylakoid membranes. These reactions are likewise called light-independent reactions because they are not straightforwardly driven by light. A significant part of the Calvin cycle is the catalyst ribulose-1, 5-biphosphate carboxylase, otherwise called RUBISCO. It creates a triplet of items in the C3 cycle which are 3-Phosphoglycerate (3-PGA), glyceraldehyde 3-P (GAP), and dihydroxyacetone phosphate or DHAP. Plants cell produce organic molecules utilizing the products of light reactions like ATP and NADPH. These reactions take the ATP and NADPH and perform further chemical processes on them. The Calvin cycle uses the chemical energy of ATP and reduces the power of NADPH from the light-reliant reactions to produce three-carbon sugars. 

The Calvin cycle is defined as the series of chemical reactions of plants by turning or reducing carbon dioxide into glucose. It is also called the C3 cycle, or otherwise called the Calvin-Benson-Bassham (CBB) cycle. C3 cycle alludes to the dark response of photosynthesis. It is by implication subject to light, and the fundamental energy carriers are the results of light-dependent reactions.


  • The Calvin cycle is important to perform chemical reactions by plants to fix carbon from CO2 into three-carbon sugars. 
  • Afterward, plants and creatures can transform these three-carbon compounds into amino acids, nucleotides, and more complex sugars like starches. 
  • This course of carbon fixation is the means by which most new natural matter is made. 
  • The sugars made in the Calvin cycle are additionally utilized by plants for long-haul energy capacity, not at all like ATP, which is spent rapidly after it is made. 
  • These plant sugars can likewise turn into a wellspring of energy for creatures who eat the plants, and hunters who eat those herbivores. 
  • The Calvin cycle is controlled by ATP and NADPH, which are made by outfitting the energy from photons in the light-reliant responses.
Calvin Cycle


Steps or stages of the Calvin cycle

There are three main stages of the Calvin cycle: 

  • Carbon fixation
  • Reduction and 
  • Regeneration.

Step 1

In the initial stage of the Calvin cycle, a CO2 molecule is incorporated. The catalyst Rubisco (the most plentiful enzyme on the planet) catalyzes the carboxylation of a 5-carbon compound called ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate (RuBP) with carbon dioxide molecule, coming about of a sum of 6 carbons. Then it is parted into 2 molecules of 3-PGA (3-phosphoglycerate), a 3-carbon compound.

It includes a two-step reaction:

  1. The result of the initial step is an enediol-enzyme that can catch CO2 or O2. Hence, the enediol enzyme complex is the correct carboxylase or oxygenase.
  2. The CO2 that is caught by enediol in the second step delivers an unsteady six-carbon compound called 2-carboxy 3-keto 1,5-biphosphoribotol that quickly parts into 2 particles of 3-phosphoglycerate, a 3-carbon compound.

Step 2

In the next stage of the Calvin cycle, the 3-PGA molecules created through carbon fixation are changed over into molecules of simple sugar – glyceraldehyde-3 phosphate.

This stage utilizes energy from ATP and NADPH created in the light-dependent reactions of photosynthesis. The manner by which plants convert energy from sunlight into long-term storage molecules like sugars. The energy from the ATP and NADPH is moved to the sugars.

  • Phosphoglycerate kinase catalyzes the phosphorylation of 3-PGA by ATP. 1,3-Bisphosphoglycerate and ADP are the items. Two ATPs are used.
  • Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase catalyzes the reduction of 1,3BPGA by NADPH. Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate is created, and NADPH changes to NADP+. Two NADPH are used.

Step 3

This is the final stage of the Calvin cycle. The other G3P should be reused to recover or regenerate the five-carbon RuBP compound that is utilized to acknowledge new carbon molecules during some glyceraldehyde-3 phosphate molecules go to make glucose. The recovery process requires ATP. It is a complex process including many steps. Since it takes six carbon particles to make glucose, this cycle should be rehashed multiple times to make a single molecule of glucose.

For one G3P to leave the cycle, three CO2 molecules should enter the cycle, giving three new atoms of fixed carbon. At the point when three CO2 molecules enter the cycle, six G3P molecules are made. One leaves the cycle and is utilized to make glucose, while the other five should be reused to recover three atoms of the RuBP acceptor.

6 NADPH + 9 ATP + 3CO2  + 5 H2O → G3P + 2H+ + 6NADP+ + 9ADP + 8Pi

Regulation of each step

In the initial step, RuBisCO is the primary enzyme used during the carbon fixation and its enzymatic movement is profoundly regulated. RuBisCO enzymatic movement is controlled by various factors including- ion particles, ATP, ADP, CO2, reduction, oxidation states, and phosphate. The different elements impacting RuBisCO action straightforwardly influence the first stage of the Calvin cycle.

In the following stage or step, one of the two G3P atoms shaped is additionally changed over completely to dihydroxyacetone phosphate (DHAP) and the catalyst aldolase is utilized to consolidate G3P and DHAP to frame fructose-1,6-bisphosphate. The enzyme aldolase is normally portrayed as a glycolytic catalyst with the capacity to part fructose 1,6-bisphosphate into DHAP and G3P.

The third step or phase of the Calvin cycle involves the regeneration of RuBP. This particular stage includes a progression of responses where there are various catalysts or enzymes for regulation. They are:

  1. Trio phosphate isomerase changes over all Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate molecules into DHAP (dihydroxyacetone phosphate).
  2. Enzyme aldolase and fructose 1, 6 bisphosphate changes over Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate (G3P) and dihydroxyacetone phosphate into fructose-6-phosphate.
  3. The transketolase enzyme eliminates two carbon atoms in fructose 6-phosphate to create erythrose 4-phosphate (E4P).
  4. The two eliminated carbons from fructose 6-phosphate are added to Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate (G3P) to deliver xylulose-5-phosphate (Xu5P).
  5. Aldolase enzyme changes over erythrose 4-phosphate (E4P) and a DHAP (dihydroxyacetone phosphate) to sedoheptulose-1,7-bisphosphate.
  6. Sedoheptulose-1,7-bisphosphatase severs the sedoheptulose-1,7-bisphosphate into sedoheptulose-7-phosphate (S7P) by removal of a phosphate group.
  7. Transketolase enzymes eliminate two carbons from S7P and two carbons are moved to one of the Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate (G3P) molecules creating ribose-5-phosphate (R5P) and another xylulose-5-phosphate.
  8. Phosphopentose isomerase (or Ribose-5-phosphate encoded by RPIA gene) is an enzyme that changes over the ribose-5-phosphate R5P into ribulose-5-phosphate (Ru5P)
  9. Phosphopentose epimerase (encoded by the RPE gene) catalyzes or changes over from xylulose-5-phosphate (Xu5P) into ribulose-5-phosphate (Ru5P).
  10. Phosphoribulokinase (an important photosynthetic enzyme) catalyzes to phosphorylate of ribulose-5-phosphate (Ru5P) into ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate.

After this last enzyme plays out this change, the Calvin cycle is thought of as complete. The last phase of the Calvin cycle is viewed as the most complicated and regulated of the cycle.


  • Calvin cycle makes three-carbon sugars, which can likewise use to make different sugars like glucose, starch, and cellulose.
  • This is utilized by plants as a primary structural material.
  • The Calvin cycle removes particles of carbon directly from the air and transforms them into plant matter.
  • The Calvin cycle makes fundamental for the presence of most environments.
  • Where the plants structure the foundation or base of the energy pyramid.
  • Without the Calvin cycle, plants would not be able to store energy in a structure that herbivores could process. Carnivores would in this way not approach energy put away in that frame of the body of herbivores.
  • The Calvin cycle likewise controls the degrees of carbon dioxide, an ozone-harming substance, in the Earth’s climate.
  • The carbon made in the Calvin cycle is additionally utilized by plants and creatures to make proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, and a wide range of various structural forms of life.


  • To produce sugar, at each and every turn one single carbon molecule is fixed.
  • It takes three turns to create one molecule of G3P.
  • Two molecules of G3P (glyceraldehyde-3 phosphate) are combined to make one single molecule of glucose.
  • It takes six turns of the Calvin cycle to create two molecules of glyceraldehyde-3 phosphate.
  • Calvin cycle uses up 3 ATP and 2 NADPH in the reduction of 3-phosphoglyceric acid (3 – PGA) to convert G3P (glyceraldehyde-3 phosphate) and regenerate RuBP.
  • To produce a single molecule of glucose, 18 ATP and 12 NADPH are consumed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: Why is Carbon Fixation Important?


Living creatures need carbon for making different supplements in the body. Carbon frames the structure blocks for different supplements. The primary wellspring of getting carbon will be carbon dioxide. Heterotrophs, carnivores, and omnivores can’t take in carbon dioxide straightforwardly in the body. They need to rely upon different organic entities to get carbon in the natural structure. Just plants or different autotrophs can make low-energy inorganic carbon dioxide into high-energy natural molecules like glucose, cellulose, and starch. In this way, the obsession with carbon is significant which frames the most important phase in the Calvin cycle.

Question 2: What is the purpose of the Calvin Cycle?


The principal reason for the Calvin Cycle is to create three carbon sugars These sugars are utilized by plants for making different structures. In the Calvin cycle, carbon is straightforwardly taken from the air and is changed over completely to plant matter. Plants can store energy in the usable structure by herbivores with the assistance of the Calvin cycle. At last, the energy put away in herbivores is utilized via carnivores for their endurance.

Question 3: Why second step called reduction in the Calvin cycle?


This step is classified as a reduction on the grounds that NADPH gives electrons to the 3-phosphoglyceric acid molecules to make glyceraldehyde-3 phosphate. In science, the most common way of giving electrons is classified as reduction, while the most common way of taking electrons is called oxidation.

Question 4: What is the use of ATP?


Plants cell produce natural molecules utilizing the results of light responses like ATP and NADPH. ATP is utilized as the wellspring of energy driving the endergonic responses while the lessening force of NADPH is utilized as a source of hydrogen and electrons expected to tie them to carbon molecules.

Question 5: What is the utilization of the Calvin cycle for people?


The Calvin cycle likewise controls the degrees of carbon dioxide, an ozone-harming substance, in the Earth’s air. Researchers are worried about the rising degree of carbon dioxide because of unnecessary excess burning of fossil fuels, consuming of petroleum products, and chopping down of trees by people that assist in diminishing carbon dioxide from the climate.

Question 6: What is the C3 cycle?


The Calvin or the C3 cycle is otherwise called the Calvin-Benson-Bassham (CBB) cycle and the Reductive pentose phosphate cycle. The C3 cycle is to some degree subject to light and uses ATP and NADPH delivered in the light responses to work the cycle. Recovered RuBP in the last stage aids more carbon fixation. The delivered sugars are utilized as energy stockpiling or storage units.

Question 7: Why Calvin cycle is helpful for animals and plants?


The carbon framed in the Calvin cycle is additionally utilized by plants and creatures for making different supplements, for example, nucleic acids, proteins, lipids, and other vital supplements required forever. The Calvin cycle removes particles of carbon directly from the air and transforms them into plant matter. The Calvin cycle makes it imperative for the presence of most biological systems, where plants structure the foundation of the energy pyramid. Without the Calvin cycle, plants would not be able to store energy in a structure that herbivores could process. Carnivores would thusly not approach energy put away in that frame of the body of herbivores. 

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