Chemosynthesis is a process, like photosynthesis, which some organisms that are not accessible to sunlight use to produce food.
In the darkest, deepest parts of the ocean where it is impossible for sunlight to reach, many organisms have created a way of life, which flourishes without the need of a factor that we would consider vital to survive. They live in harsh conditions with temperatures close to boiling point, and the weight of the ocean on their shoulders. These organism, who have formed a way of surviving are called chemoautotrophic bacteria, and use a process called chemosynthesis to create energy and food for themselves, without the use of sunlight.
Chemosynthesis is the process of converting chemicals into the carbohydrates and energy all organisms need to function. Deep in the ocean, where there are hydrothermal vents, bacteria use water, dissolved carbon dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide to create sugar and sulfur compounds. This is represented in the equation . The carbon dioxide comes from carbon dioxide dissolved in the ocean water, along with the water. The hydrogen sulfides shoot out from hydrothermal vents and are absorbed by the bacteria. The chemoautotrophic bacteria oxide or heat up the chemicals, to create sugar and sulfur compounds. They use the sugar for energy, and release the sulfur compounds into the ocean water.
By now, chemosynthesis is probably reminding you of another process which is used by other organisms to create energy called photosynthesis. Yes, they are similar in the way that they both convert things into energy for themselves, but the big difference between them, is that photosynthesis cannot take place without sunlight, while chemosynthesis does not rely on sunlight. It only needs heat and suitable chemicals. Because of this, chemosynthesis can potentially take place anywhere in the world, although it currently takes place only deep in the ocean.
Lately, many scientists have started to ask whether chemosynthesis could be used as an alternative source for food energy. The answer to this is yes, but it is not a good idea. If organisms can use chemicals to create food for them, the organisms could be used as food themselves. As you can probably see, the major setback to using chemosynthesis as an alternative food source is that humans would have to set up an environment or a factory in which it could take place. We would have to provide hydrogen sulfide, water, and carbon dioxide to chemoautotrophic bacteria and have them convert it into sugar for us. This would not be economical, or feasible and on a large scale it would release too many sulfur compounds into the Earth’s atmosphere. On another topic, scientists are trying to see whether chemosynthesis can be used as an alternative fuel source. I think that it could be possible, the same way that it could be an alternative food source, but it would again not be feasible or economical.
In conclusion, we have learned that while the food chain on land is based on photosynthesis, deep in the ocean, where sunlight cannot reach, there is a whole community of organisms. These organism, which range from microscopic bacteria, to huge tubeworms, thrive under extreme conditions by using a process called chemosynthesis. We have learned how chemosynthesis works, and how it is similar but very different from photosynthesis. Lastly, we now know that chemosynthesis is great for the chemoautotrophic bacteria that live in the ocean, but that it would not be very economical if humans tried to convert it into an alternative fuel source or energy source.