Mother Nature is amazing. Just take a look at flowers and plants - we may not see them breathing and moving but we know that they are thriving. Plants seem to be able to function on their own. But do you know that these creatures will not be able to live without one very important pigment called chlorophyll? Almost all plants have chlorophyll. Even algae, such as chlorella and seaweed, also contain this pigment.
If you are not familiar with chlorophyll, read on and learn why it is important for plants.
What Is Chlorophyll?
A green pigment molecule found in plants, chlorophyll is crucial for photosynthesis because it absorbs energy from the sun. Chlorophyll helps convert water into glucose and carbon dioxide into oxygen. During photosynthesis, chlorophyll creates energy in the form of sugary carbohydrates, which is important for the growth and development of plants.
Chlorophyll is made of a porphyrin ring.
This is a circular and enclosed atom arrangement that allows electrons to “freely” float around, instead of being captured by a certain atom. These electrons are energy that can be absorbed by plant cells to help them grow.
To better understand how chlorophyll functions for plants, try to imagine how a person’s digestive system operates - it takes the raw materials and converts them into elements that can provide energy in the form of glucose. The only difference is that all that a plant needs is light from the sun, air absorbed through its pores, and water siphoned through its roots. The glucose produced during photosynthesis is absorbed into the cells of the plant and used to grow another bud or leaf. Sometimes, there is leftover glucose. In this case, the plant stores this glucose away as starch to be used for later.
Chlorophyll Turns Plants Green, Too!
Here’s another interesting fact:
Chlorophyll gives plants their beautiful color.
Ever wonder why most plants are green? This is also because of chlorophyll. If a plant has sufficient chlorophyll, it will have a lush, green color.
Try to observe some trees. Most of the year, they show off a certain green color, whether it’s teal, sage, or lime. However, when autumn comes, the plants turn into varying shades of red or golden-brown. This is because the plant loses the chlorophyll pigment, but gains other types of pigment. For example, the carotenoid pigment makes leaves look orange or yellow.
Can Humans Use Chlorophyll?
Due to its usefulness for plants, chlorophyll is now generating interest in the health community. Can this useful plant pigment work on people, too? No one knows for sure, but if you are looking for sources of chlorophyll, here are some possible options you can try:
- “Green” chlorophyll drinks. These are made from powdered green veggies.
- Chlorophyll supplements. These are available in a concentrated liquid form. Most chlorophyll supplements are dense and tasteless, and can be added to any type of drink. Try mixing it in water, smoothie or fruit shakes, or juice. When purchasing a liquid chlorophyll supplement, though, make sure that it is not refined and highly processed or loaded with additives and sweeteners. Only buy from a trustworthy source.
- Raw green foods. Eat plenty of greens! Salads and a wide variety of veggies like Asian greens, spinach, lettuce, green capsicum, broccoli, asparagus, peas, kale, and beans are good chlorophyll sources. Any plant-derived food is okay, as long as it is green in color. This means that it contains chlorophyll.
The next time you see a plant or tree looking lush and green, think of chlorophyll and how it works its magic. You will definitely appreciate this unique pigment!
About the Author
Mishka Thomas is a blogger and a freelance writer. She is an avid gardener and is fascinated by the workings of the botanical world. At present, she is currently researching about chlorophyll in algae, including seaweed and chlorella. When she is not busy tending to her backyard garden, she loves to go parasailing, mountain climbing, and scuba diving. She lives with her family in Florida.