What is chlorophyll?

Chlorophyll is contained in chloroplast plant cells.

Chlorophyll is a complex organic molecule that allows plants and some other organisms to carry out photosynthesis – the conversion of carbon dioxide and water into glucose and oxygen using sunlight. Glucose is an energy source used to drive growth and development, and the oxygen created as a by-product is essential for all animal life. As a result, this green pigment is one of the most important biological compounds. It also gives plants their characteristic green color.

Photosynthesis

Chlorophyll makes photosynthesis possible.

It may be helpful to think of chlorophyll as having the same function in plants as the human digestive system. Both take raw materials and convert them into usable sources of energy in the form of glucose. In the case of pigment, all the plant needs is water absorbed by the roots, air absorbed by the pores and sunlight. Then the plant, whether it’s a sequoia, a clump of algae, or a rose, absorbs glucose into its cells to bloom another leaf or sprout another flower. It is not necessary to store energy immediately as starch for later use.

The process of photosynthesis can be summarized as the reaction

6CO 2 (carbon dioxide) + 6H 2 O (water) -> C 6 H 12 O 6 (glucose) + 6O 2 (oxygen)

A branch of sage.

but it is actually much more complex and involves several steps. End products have more energy than raw materials, which means that the reaction cannot take place without energy supply. Chlorophyll does this by capturing energy from sunlight. from CO

two

is absorbed, and

two

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produced, plants can be said to “breathe in” carbon dioxide and “breathe out” oxygen.

The Structure and Function of Chlorophyll

Chlorophyll gives wormwood its green color.

The pigment contains a porphyrin ring, which is a circular arrangement of carbon atoms. Inside it are four nitrogen atoms bonded to a central magnesium ion. This allows electrons to float freely within the structure, which means the compound can provide electrons to other molecules and also accept them.

The pigment also strongly absorbs light in the red and blue parts of the spectrum, which is why it is colored green – the remaining light is reflected back and is mostly in the green part of the spectrum. The absorbed light is used to energize electrons, which are used to create glucose from carbon dioxide and water. The electrons are replaced by using sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen ions, which releases two electrons for each water molecule. This is a remarkable achievement considering that splitting water in a laboratory requires very high temperatures or an electrical current.

Algae containing chlorophyll.

Chlorophyll is contained in plant cells in structures known as chloroplasts. They occur mainly in leaves, in cells between the upper and lower layers. Inside the chloroplasts are the grana, which consist of tiny bodies known as thylakoids stacked on top of each other. The pigment is contained in the thylakoid membranes.

Why are plants green

Water molecules are used by chlorophyll during photosynthesis.

Due to its green color, chlorophyll only absorbs part of the available light, so one may wonder why plants don’t use a pigment that can use all the available energy: such a pigment would be black, as it would absorb all the light it strikes. The answer is not clear. It may be that there is no black molecule that has exactly the chemical properties needed to do the job. Alternatively, a black pigment can absorb a lot of energy, possibly causing plants to overheat or producing unwanted chemical reactions. Another theory is that some of the first photosynthetic organisms used retinol, a purple pigment that absorbs green light, and that the use of chlorophyll evolved in later life forms to exploit those parts of the Sun’s spectrum that weren’t being used by the sun-based organisms. retinol.

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Photosynthesis is the transformation of carbon dioxide and water into glucose and oxygen.

In temperate regions, many perennial plants go dormant during the winter, losing their leaves. Prior to this, in the autumn, chlorophyll production ceases, and the pigment is broken down, causing the leaves to lose their green color. When this happens, other pigments, which were masked by the strong green hue of this compound, become visible. Carotenoids are one example — they give the yellow and orange colors commonly seen in autumn.

uses

Chlorophyll is used in the food industry as a natural colorant, and in Europe is given the E-number E140. A number of common food products are colored green by this compound, and it also gives the green color to the alcoholic drink, absinthe. The pigment is often sold in a variety of liquid forms as a health supplement. Although it is harmless, there appears to be no scientific basis for the various claimed benefits.

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