While animals hunt and find our food, plants are required to make their own food. Plants accomplish making their food through a process called “photosynthesis” where they convert sunlight into the energy that they need.
Looking at a plant you might not think it’s very sophisticated, but each plant cell contains an organelle called the chloroplast that gives them the ability to make their food from sunlight.
Each plant cell has many chloroplast organelles and they work together in a balanced way so that they can create food for the cell.
Inside each of the chloroplasts there are tons of smaller chlorophyll molecules and these are the factory workers that are busy making the cell’s food.
They are the controllers of photosynthesis. Each chlorophyll molecule takes the light from the sun’s energy and transforms it into water and then takes carbon dioxide and changes that into sugar and oxygen.
It is the chlorophyll that gives plant their green color.
Chloroplasts are very small organelles inside plants that are pill-shaped or oval. Chloroplasts are green because they are jam-packed with chlorophyll molecules that are green.
Chlorophyll are experts at capturing the sun’s energy and using it in the process of photosynthesis where they create the sugar and oxygen that is commonly called “plant food.”
The oxygen that is given off by every plant is critical for the survival of almost every living creature on earth.
A majority of the oxygen that we breathe is thanks to the plants and chloroplasts are the controllers. You might say that we owe our existence to chloroplasts and chlorophyll.
There are six parts to the anatomy of chloroplasts and each plays an important role in their function.
There are the inner and outer membranes of the chloroplast. The inner membrane surrounds two parts: the stroma and the grana. The grana are stacks of what are called thylakoids and each of these stacks is called a granum.
Chlorophyll molecules sit on top of each of the thylakoids to trap the sun’s energy. As molecules become rich with this energy they move over to the stoma where carbon is attached and it can make the sugars that it needs for food.
The stoma lamellae connect the stacks of thylakoid sacs and act as a kind of skeleton for the chloroplast. This ensures that the sacs are perfectly separated from each other and makes sure that each organelle is running at top efficiency.
This may sound like a lot of names and functions, and it is. The entire process has probably changed your mind about plants and now you know that they aren’t so simple.
Now let's test what you have learned!