Chlorophyll: Structure, Function and FAQs

Chlorophyll is a pigment that gives a green colour to plants. It is found in all photosynthetic organisms such as algae, cyanobacteria, and plants. Different forms of chlorophyll include chlorophyll a and b in green algae and higher plants, chlorophyll c and d in combination with chlorophyll a in some algae, and chlorophyll e is found rarely in golden algae.

Structure of Chlorophyll

The molecular formula of chlorophyll is C55H72MgN4O5. It consists of porphyrin rings and phytol chains. The porphyrin ring is formed by four pyrrole molecules with a magnesium atom in the centre. The 7th carbon at the pyrrole ring is attached with a phytol chain that forms the phytol tail of the molecule. The porphyrin rings are hydrophilic, whereas phytol chains are hydrophobic.

Functions of Chlorophyll

  • Production of Carbohydrates: Chlorophylls are present in the chloroplasts of plant cells where photosynthesis takes place. Proteins are arranged in the thylakoid membranes of the chloroplast, which work together with chlorophyll by absorbing sunlight. They produce energy in the form of ATP which then goes through the Calvin cycle, and fixes the CO2 to produce sugars.
  • Production of Oxygen: Oxygen is produced as a by-product of photosynthesis. This oxygen is then used up by plants for cellular respiration, and is also released into the environment supporting the living beings.

Liquid Chlorophyll

Liquid chlorophyll is the extraction of chlorophyll pigment from the plants and consuming it as a supplement. It has several health benefits such as liver detoxification, weight loss, reduction and tumour cells, stimulating the immune system and many more. However, this area needs more research for commercialisation

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main function of chloroplasts?

The main function of chloroplasts is to trap the energy from sunlight.

How important is chlorophyll?

Chlorophyll is vital for the survival of plants, as it is used in the process of photosynthesis.

What is chlorophyll made of?

Chlorophyll is made of porphyrin rings with a magnesium atom in the centre, and a chain of carbon and hydrogen called phytol tail.

What is the process of photosynthesis?

Photosynthesis is the conversion of light energy to chemical energy.

What are the 4 types of chlorophyll?

The four major types of chlorophyll are a, b, c, and d.

Is chlorophyll a protein?

The protein content of chlorophyll is 46.5%.

Who discovered chlorophyll?

Chlorophyll was discovered by the scientists Joseph-Bienaimé Caventou and Pierre-Joseph Pelletier.

Does chlorophyll contain iron?

No, a chlorophyll molecule does not contain iron in it.

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