Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Bottom Line

The image is of plant cells containing chloroplasts, where chlorophyll is found.

This post is about the chemistry of life, particularly plant life. It is about how come plants are green leafed. It is about plant ichor and the fact that most plants utilize chlorophyll (type a) the same as most vertebrate animals utilize hemoglobin.

Chlorophyll is a term used for several closely related green pigments found in cyanobacteria and the chloroplasts of algae and plants. Its name is derived from the Greek words χλωρός, chloros ("green") and φύλλον, phyllon ("leaf"). Chlorophyll is an extremely important biomolecule, critical in photosynthesis, which allows plants to absorb energy from light. Chlorophyll absorbs light most strongly in the blue portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, followed by the red portion. Conversely, it is a poor absorber of green and near-green portions of the spectrum which it reflects, hence the green color of chlorophyll-containing tissues. Chlorophyll was first isolated and named by Joseph Bienaimé Caventou and Pierre Joseph Pelletier in 1817.

A similar story can be told for hemoglobin except that it reflects red the same as chlorophyll reflects green. The reason for the red reflection is basically the iron in the center of hemoglobin while at the heart of chlorophyll is magnesium. Probably the green of chlorophyll is caused by the magnesium at its heart. Both hemoglobin and chlorophyll serve similar critical functions in the bodies of animals and plants - the creation and distribution of essentials to life at the most basic level of complex organisms.

Interestingly, phthalocyanine is a manufactured popular bright blue pigment with a copper ion at its center. The copper ion is precisely where iron is present in red hemoglobin and magnesium is present in green chlorophyll.

Finally, when damaged the heme part of hemoglobin can transform into bilverdin (green) and bilrubin (yellow), which is seen in the color of bruises.

School's out for now.

The Bottom Line

Plants conform to life,
therefore eat the sun not raw
but filtered through life
and the rest of us
feed on plants or those who feed
on the bright green blood,
the magnesium
holding sun, or iron red
holding air the same.

April 18, 2011 4:15 AM

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