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Why Are Chloroplasts So Important?

By Sheri Lamb
Chloroplasts create the green color in plants.
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Each chloroplast is approximately 4 to 6 micrometers in diameter, which is the equivalent of one-millionth of a meter. While they are small, life on earth wouldn't be possible if they didn't exist. Each cell is shaped like a satellite dish and the concave is directed toward sunlight for its role in photosynthesis.


Almost all of the food and fuel in the world comes from chloroplasts. These components of cells are needed for plants during photosynthesis and are only found in plants and algae. The cells absorb light and release a chemical called chlorophyll, which assists in the process. The light is used to produce sugar. Chloroplast gives plants their green color and every green-colored cell in a plant contains chloroplast, including the leaves, stems, and peel.

Fats, Scents, Oils and Proteins

In addition to its role in giving pants the ability to perform photosynthesis, chloroplasts provide a way to create fats, scents, oils and proteins. The chloroplast could be considered a carbohydrate factory that not only produces sugars, but also these other components that are essential for the plant's survival. The only ingredients that are needed for photosynthesis are carbon dioxide, minerals (from soil), water, and sunlight. Any carbohydrates that aren't used after photosynthesis are stored until the plant needs them. This can become particularly useful during droughts or in long periods without sunlight.


If chloroplasts didn't exist, plants wouldn't have the ability to survive because photosynthesis is necessary for plant survival. And because plants provide us with oxygen, humans and animals would no longer be able to breathe. The chloroplasts also rely on humans for survival. When we breathe out carbon dioxide, the plants take it in and use it for photosynthesis. This chain of reliance among animals and plants is a major building block for sustainable life on this planet.


Though the chloroplast is tiny, it can still be viewed through a regular microscope. The cell component is located inside a stoma and a grana, and this is where the process of photosynthesis takes place. Approximately 200 chloroplasts are found in each plant cell, wrapped in a membrane envelope, though a cell might only have one chloroplast. Each chloroplast has nearly all the genetic material needed to reproduce itself.


About the Author


Sheri Lamb has been a reporter since 2006 in community newspapers throughout Canada. While she has covered virtually every beat associated with community newspapers, Lamb specializes in sports. In addition to her skills as a reporter, Lamb holds a certificate in computer programming. She also runs a small catering company.