Standard Article

Photosynthesis: The Calvin Cycle

  1. Dieter Heineke1,
  2. Renate Scheibe2

Published Online: 15 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0001291.pub2



How to Cite

Heineke, D. and Scheibe, R. 2009. Photosynthesis: The Calvin Cycle. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Universität Göttingen, Albrecht-von-Haller-Institut für Pflanzenwissenschaften, Germany

  2. 2

    Universität Osnabrück, Fach-bereich Biologie/Chemie, Abteilung Pflanzenphysiologie, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 MAR 2009


The Calvin cycle is a reductive process in the stroma of chloroplasts responsible for the synthesis of carbohydrates from carbon dioxide. The reactions are organized in a cyclic metabolic pathway that was named after its discoverer Melvin Calvin who received the Nobel Price for Chemistry in 1961. Reducing power in the form of NADPH (nicotinamide-adenine dinucleotide phosphate reduced form) and energy as adenosine triphosphate (ATP) required for this process are generated in the light reactions located in the thylakoid membrane. Light activation of this process is achieved by covalent redox-modification of some key enzymes that are inactive in the dark.


  • assimilation;
  • Calvin cycle;
  • light activation;
  • thioredoxin