Chlorophyll - Chlorophyll is a
molecule that starts the energy trapping process. The molecule has magnesium
[Mg] at its center with 4 nitrogen [N] atoms bonded to it.
Chlorophyll is the substance that can trap the energy of the sun in a process called photosynthesis, it is green. Leaves are organs uniquely constructed for trapping the energy from the sun. As young leaves begin to grow they use stored energy that was made by mature leaves the previous growth period. As leaves grow and mature, chlorophyll is formed in the living cells. To form one molecule of chlorophyll, 54 carbon atoms connect with 4 nitrogen atoms, one central magnesium atom, and 72 hydrogen atoms. As chlorophyll is formed the first time, the elements must come from stored reserves. Before chlorophyll forms in a leaf, the leaf could be a color other than green depending on the first pigments that formed. As leaves die, chlorophyll is no longer produced, and the leaf takes on colors of the other pigments present. Chlorophyll is abundant in living parenchyma cells in young trees of most species. Green, cortex-like tissues are common under the periderm in young trees of many species. Chlorophyll is usually abundant in the cortex, pith, or other living tissues in young twigs. My major point is that it takes 4 nitrogen atoms and 52 carbon atoms to make one chlorophyll molecule. And, again, the energy to make one molecule must come out of the system first; and the chlorophyll contains a great amount of carbon and only a small amount of nitrogen. Some plants have no chlorophyll such as the ghost flower (click here).
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