Chloroplasts

Plants form the basis of all life on earth and are known as producers. Plant cells contain structures known as plastids which are absent in animal cells. These plastids are double-membraned cell organelles which play a primary role in the manufacturing and storing of food. There are three types of plastids –

  • Chromoplasts- They are the colour plastids, found in all flowers, fruits and are mainly responsible for their distinctive colours.
  • Chloroplasts- They are green coloured plastids, which comprises of green-coloured pigments within the plant cell and are called as the chlorophyll.
  • Leucoplasts- They are colourless plastids and are mainly used for the storage of starch, lipids, and proteins within the plant cell.

Also Read: Plastids

Let us have a detailed look at the chloroplast structure and function.

Chloroplast

“Chloroplast is an organelle that contains the photosynthetic pigment chlorophyll that captures sunlight and converts it into useful energy, thereby, releasing oxygen from water. “

Chloroplasts are found in all green plants and algae. They are the food producers of plants. These are found in the guard cells located in the leaves of the plants. They contain a high concentration of chlorophyll that traps sunlight. This cell organelle is not present in animal cells.

Chloroplasts have their own DNA and can reproduce independently from the rest of the cell. They also produce amino acids and lipids required for the production of chloroplast membrane.

Chloroplast Structure

Chloroplast

The image representing chloroplast structure

Chloroplasts are found in all higher plants. It is oval or biconvex, found within the mesophyll of the plant cell. The size of the chloroplast usually varies between 4-6 µm in diameter and 1-3 µm in thickness. They are double-membrane organelle with the presence of outer, inner and the thin intermembrane space. There are two distinct regions present inside the chloroplasts known as the grana and stroma.

  • Grana is made up of stacks of disc-shaped structures known as thylakoids. The grana of the chloroplasts consist of chlorophyll pigments and are the functional units of chloroplasts.
  • Stroma is the homogenous matrix which contains grana and is similar to the cytoplasm in cells in which all the organelles are embedded. Stroma also contains various enzymes, DNA, ribosomes, and other substances. Stroma lamellae function by connecting the stacks of thylakoid sacs.

The chloroplast structure consists of the following parts:

Membrane Envelope

It comprises inner and outer lipid bilayer membranes. The inner membrane separates the stroma from the intermembrane space.

Intermembrane Space

The space between inner and outer membranes.

Thylakoid System

The system is suspended in the stroma. It is a collection of membranous sacs called thylakoids. The green coloured pigments called chlorophyll are found in the thylakoid membranes. It is the sight for the process of light-dependent reactions of the photosynthesis process. The thylakoids are arranged in stacks known as grana and each granum contains around 10-20 thylakoids.

Stroma

It is a colourless, alkaline, aqueous, protein-rich fluid present within the inner membrane of the chloroplasts present surrounding the grana.

Grana

These are the sites of conversion of light energy into chemical energy.

Chlorophyll

It is a green photosynthetic pigment that helps in the process of photosynthesis.

Also read: Light-dependent Reactions

Chloroplast Function

Following are the important chloroplast function:

  • The most important function of the chloroplast is to synthesize food by the process of photosynthesis.
  • Absorbs light energy and converts it into chemical energy.
  • Chloroplasts have a structure called chlorophyll which functions by trapping the solar energy and used for the synthesis of food in all green plants.
  • Produces NADPH and molecular oxygen(O2) by photolysis of water.
  • Produces ATP – Adenosine triphosphate by the process of photosynthesis .
  • The carbon dioxide (CO2) obtained from the air is used to generate carbon and sugar during the Calvin Cycle or dark reaction of photosynthesis.

Also Refer: Calvin Cycle

Learn more about the chloroplast structure and function only @  BYJU’S Biology

Frequently Asked Questions

Where does the photosynthesis process occur in the plant cell?

In all green plants, photosynthesis takes place within the thylakoid membrane of the Chloroplast.

List out the different parts of Chloroplasts?

Chloroplasts are cell organelles present only in a plant cell and it includes:

  1. Stroma
  2. Inner membrane
  3. Outer membrane
  4. Thylakoid membrane
  5. Intermembrane Space.

What is the most important function of chloroplast?

The most important function of chloroplast is the production of food by the process of photosynthesis.

Why is the chloroplast green?

Chloroplast contains a green pigment called chlorophyll which gives it a green colour.

How many types of plastids are there?

There are three types of plastids-chloroplast, chromoplast and leucoplast.

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