Chlorophyll

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Chlorophyll (also chlorophyl) is a green pigment found in almost all plants, algae, and cyanobacteria. Its name is derived from the Greek words chloros ("green") and phyllon ("leaf"). Chlorophyll is an extremely important biomolecule, critical in photosynthesis, which allows plants to obtain energy from light. Chlorophyll absorbs light most strongly in the blue portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, followed by the red portion. However, it is a poor absorber of green and near-green portions of the spectrum; hence the green color of chlorophyll-containing tissues.[1] Chlorophyll was first isolated by Joseph Bienaimé Caventou and Pierre Joseph Pelletier in 1817.[2]

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Chlorophyll and photosynthesis

Chlorophyll is vital for photosynthesis, which allows plants to obtain energy from light.

Chlorophyll molecules are specifically arranged in and around photosystems that are embedded in the thylakoid membranes of chloroplasts. In these complexes, chlorophyll serves two primary functions. The function of the vast majority of chlorophyll (up to several hundred molecules per photosystem) is to absorb light and transfer that light energy by resonance energy transfer to a specific chlorophyll pair in the reaction center of the photosystems.

The two currently accepted photosystem units are Photosystem II and Photosystem I, which have their own distinct reaction center chlorophylls, named P680 and P700, respectively.[3] These pigments are named after the wavelength (in nanometers) of their red-peak absorption maximum. The identity, function and spectral properties of the types of chlorophyll in each photosystem are distinct and determined by each other and the protein structure surrounding them. Once extracted from the protein into a solvent (such as acetone or methanol),[4][5][6] these chlorophyll pigments can be separated in a simple paper chromatography experiment and, based on the number of polar groups between chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b, will chemically separate out on the paper.

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