What Is the Role of Chlorophyll In Photosynthesis?

Chlorophyll is the name of the green pigment that plants use to make food during a process called photosynthesis. Chlorophyll allow plants to absorb energy from light.

A pigment is a molecule that has a particular color and can absorb light at different wavelengths, depending on the color. There are many different types of pigments in nature, but chlorophyll is unique in its ability to enable plants to absorb the energy they need to build tissues.

Chlorophyll is a key component in the process of photosynthesis, which sustains plant life and produces oxygen for the entire planet. Although microscopic in size, chloroplasts like these have a big role to play in the health of the planet.

Chlorophylls absorb light most strongly in the blue portion of the electromagnetic spectrum as well as the red portion. Chlorophyll gives plants their green color because it does not absorb the green wavelengths of white light. That particular light wavelength is reflected from the plant, so it appears green.

Hence chlorophyll-containing tissues appear green because green light, diffusively reflected by structures like cell walls, is less absorbed. Two types of chlorophyll exist in the photosystems of green plants: chlorophyll a and b.

Plants that use photosynthesis to make their own food are called autotrophs. Animals that eat plants or other animals are called heterotrophs. Because food webs in every type of ecosystem, from terrestrial to marine, begin with photosynthesis, chlorophyll can be considered a foundation for all life on Earth.

What Is the Role of Chlorophyll In Photosynthesis?

Chlorophyll’s job in a plant is to absorb light—usually sunlight. The energy absorbed from light is transferred to two kinds of energy-storing molecules. Through photosynthesis, the plant uses the stored energy to convert carbon dioxide (absorbed from the air) and water into glucose, a type of sugar.

Plants use glucose together with nutrients taken from the soil to make new leaves and other plant parts. The process of photosynthesis produces oxygen, which is released by the plant into the air.

Where Is Chlorophyll Found in A Plant Cell?

The green pigment chlorophyll is located within the thylakoid membrane, and the space between the thylakoid and the chloroplast membranes is called the stroma.

Chlorophyll is located in a plant’s chloroplasts, which are tiny structures in a plant’s cells. This is where photosynthesis takes place. Phytoplankton, the microscopic floating plants that form the basis of the entire marine food web, contain chlorophyll, which is why high phytoplankton concentrations can make water look green.

Chlorophyll A is the major pigment used in photosynthesis, but there are several types of chlorophyll and numerous other pigments that respond to light, including red, brown, and blue pigments. These other pigments may help channel light energy to chlorophyll A or protect the cell from photo-damage.

For example, the photosynthetic protists called dinoflagellates, which are responsible for the “red tides” that often prompt warnings against eating shellfish, contain a variety of light-sensitive pigments, including both chlorophyll and the red pigments responsible for their dramatic coloration.