- the green coloring matter of leaves and plants, essential to the production of carbohydrates by photosynthesis, and occurring in a bluish-black form, C55H72MgN4O5 (chlorophyll a), and a dark-green form, C55H70MgN4O6 (chlorophyll b).
Origin of chlorophyll
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- the green pigment of plants and photosynthetic algae and bacteria that traps the energy of sunlight for photosynthesis and exists in several forms, the most abundant being chlorophyll a (C 55 H 72 O 5 N 4 Mg): used as a colouring agent in medicines or food (E140)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for chlorophyll-b
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- Any of a group of related green pigments found in photosynthetic cells that converts light energy into ATP and other forms of energy needed for biochemical processes; it is found in green plants, brown and red algae, and certain aerobic and anaerobic bacteria.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
- Any of several green pigments found in photosynthetic organisms, such as plants, algae, and cyanobacteria. At its molecular core, chlorophyll has a porphyrin structure but contains a magnesium atom at its center and a long carbon side chain. Chlorophyll absorbs red and blue wavelengths of light, but reflects green. When it absorbs light energy, a chlorophyll molecule enters a higher energy state in which it easily gives up an electron to the first available electron-accepting molecule nearby. This electron moves through a chain of acceptors and is ultimately used in the synthesis of ATP, which provides chemical energy for plant metabolism. Plants rely on two forms of chlorophyll, chlorophyll a (C66H72MgN4O5) and chlorophyll b (C66H70MgN4O6), which have slightly different light absorbing properties. All plants, algae, and cyanobacteria have chlorophyll a, since only this compound can pass an electron to acceptors in oxygen-producing photosynthetic reactions. Chlorophyll b absorbs light energy that is then transferred to chlorophyll a. Several protist groups such as brown algae and diatoms lack chlorophyll b but have another pigment, chlorophyll c, instead. Other closely related pigments are used by various bacteria in photosynthetic reactions that do not produce oxygen. See more at photosynthesis.
Word History: From its name, one might think that chlorophyll has chlorine in it, but it doesn't. The chloro- of chlorophyll comes from the Greek word for green; chlorophyll in fact is the chemical compound that gives green plants their characteristic color. The name of the chemical element chlorine comes from the same root as the prefix chloro-, and is so called because it is a greenish-colored gas.
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