Notices
Results 1 to 23 of 23
Like Tree5Likes
  • 1 Post By JoshuaL
  • 1 Post By msafwan
  • 1 Post By Zwolver
  • 1 Post By bigratlover
  • 1 Post By bigratlover

Thread: a new kind of chlorophyll

  1. #1 a new kind of chlorophyll 
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    59
    I am no expert. Please hold back your ridicule as best you can.

    The idea is that chloroplasts are very inefficient at capturing light (8% efficiency at best). But solar panels are coming around at 20% efficiency. Plants could use sand (mainly composed of silicon dioxide, and from what I understand silicon is a major component in solar cells) to make a more efficient chloroplast.

    It occurs to me that seems wordy and confusing. I have no idea how to reword that. I may have lost my credibility already. If you have questions about whatever the heck i'm talking about, ask me for clarification.


    Reply With Quote  
     

  2.  
     

  3. #2  
    Forum Junior JoshuaL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    268
    Hi bigratlover. Yes, theoretically the chloroplast might be made more efficient. However, as with most living things, the issue is one of need. In this case, plants only require a certain amount of energy from photosynthesis, and no more. They get rid of excess energy in the form of heat or light. I'm no plant biologist, but I expect if you were to supercharge a plant by giving it a modified chloroplast, you'd only kill it. Of course, I can imagine that a plant might be modified to suit a new environment. In which case, what you're describing might be just the ticket.


    "The only appropriate attitude for man to have about the big questions is... doubt. Doubt is humble, and that's what man needs to be, considering that human history is just a litany of getting sh*t dead wrong."

    Take two of these and call me in the morning
    .
    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #3  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    Please lay out the chemical pathways by which this silic based cholorplast would operate. Without that you just have an undefined black box.

    If you could pull off the trick it would be invaluable in growing plants on Mars where incident sunlight may be insufficient to produce practical photosynthesis.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #4  
    Forum Junior JoshuaL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    268
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Please lay out the chemical pathways by which this silic based cholorplast would operate. Without that you just have an undefined black box.
    Hi John, you'll find the first sentence in B's post is "I am no expert" so I think we can assume B does not know any of the chemical pathways.

    Or, if you were addressing me, I'm not touching the silica idea specifically, merely stating that we ought to be able, in theory, to make improvements to the chloroplast or other mechanisms involved in photosynthesis. Here are a couple relevant journal articles: [1][2]

    Edit: sorry, paywall on the first, but you get the idea. Should be able to read the full 2nd article.
    "The only appropriate attitude for man to have about the big questions is... doubt. Doubt is humble, and that's what man needs to be, considering that human history is just a litany of getting sh*t dead wrong."

    Take two of these and call me in the morning
    .
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #5  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    59
    I realize I did no fully lay out all of my thoughts.
    The silica would electrify chemicals(when excited by sunlight), causing bonds to break and new bonds to form... blah blah blah chemistry sciency stuff, making food and energy for the plant.
    It surprised me when I learned chlorophyll is only 8% efficient. I thought, "Well you can do better than that, cant you nature? No wonder plants only have enough energy to sit there and be potential food."

    Another possible topic of improved efficiency would be muscle movement. So much energy is lost as heat, its kind of ridiculous.

    So there ya have it, folks. My train of thought revealed. Might not help much, but it looked like my ideas would need some more support.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #6  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    Do you have a source for that 8% figure?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #7  
    Forum Junior JoshuaL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    268
    Heres a good rundown.
    http://www.fao.org/docrep/w7241e/w7241e05.htm
    Jump to section 1.2.1
    msafwan likes this.
    "The only appropriate attitude for man to have about the big questions is... doubt. Doubt is humble, and that's what man needs to be, considering that human history is just a litany of getting sh*t dead wrong."

    Take two of these and call me in the morning
    .
    Reply With Quote  
     

  9. #8  
    Forum Masters Degree
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    703
    I read that plant do not prefer photosynthetic efficiency because the process of photosynthesis itself can cause damage to plant cell when not supplied with enough CO2 and Water (the incoming light create free radical that destroy DNA). Certain plant in the desert (for example) can store CO2 to prevent this kind of damage during the day (and can also store water; ie, Cactus). -Some plant remove chlorophyll completely, that's why some plant have red/white leaves rather than green.

    In short: photosynthesis will destroy the plant when forced without CO2 & water (CO2 is already too low at <0.03% in the atmosphere for plant).

    Source: I read this from book on introduction to ecosystem
    Last edited by msafwan; October 10th, 2012 at 02:14 AM.
    JoshuaL likes this.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  10. #9  
    Forum Professor Zwolver's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    1,631
    Quote Originally Posted by msafwan View Post
    I read that plant do not prefer photosynthetic efficiency because the process of photosynthesis itself can cause damage to plant cell when not supplied with enough CO2 and Water (the incoming light create free radical that destroy DNA). Certain plant in the desert (for example) can store CO2 to prevent this kind of damage during the day (and can also store water; ie, Cactus). -Some plant remove chlorophyll completely, that's why some plant have red/white leaves rather than green.

    In short: photosynthesis will destroy the plant when forced without CO2 & water (CO2 is already too low at <0.03% in the atmosphere for plant).

    Source: I read this from book on introduction to ecosystem
    Good, someone answered it before i did..

    In plants, the slow fotosynthesis is preferred, as then it can be controlled, and night and day are in sinc. As the plant generates proteins at night, where those proteins will bind the free radicals to an electron. They do this to balance stuff out.

    Not sure about the 8% part.. as i don't know if this is after, or before the actual spending of energy constructing new chlorofyl, or Superoxide Dismutase.

    Just another thing. Free radicals doesn't just damage DNA, it also damages sensitive proteins, RNA, etc.
    msafwan likes this.
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
    Reply With Quote  
     

  11. #10  
    Life-Size Nanoputian Flick Montana's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Flatland
    Posts
    5,438
    It wouldn't be as simple as reengineering the chloroplasts. The entirety of the plant would have to be redeveloped. You can't just 'implant' an artificial chloroplast and remove the old one.

    EDIT: What you are saying could be interesting with a consideration toward silicon-based life, however.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
    Reply With Quote  
     

  12. #11  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    59
    Quote Originally Posted by JoshuaL View Post
    Hi bigratlover. Yes, theoretically the chloroplast might be made more efficient. However, as with most living things, the issue is one of need. In this case, plants only require a certain amount of energy from photosynthesis, and no more. They get rid of excess energy in the form of heat or light. I'm no plant biologist, but I expect if you were to supercharge a plant by giving it a modified chloroplast, you'd only kill it. Of course, I can imagine that a plant might be modified to suit a new environment. In which case, what you're describing might be just the ticket.
    I am not saying we are replacing just the cell structure, but changing an entire plant.

    "Do you have a source for that 8% figure?"
    No I do not! However, I have the hunch I got it from livescience.com, on an article about scientists making an artificial soil. It went something along the lines of "...chlorophyll is only about 5% efficient, sometimes getting up to 8% efficient at best. This usually is at temperatures of 60 degrees..."
    If someone could confirm this hunch, that would be great. I dont really want to bother going to find this out.

    "It wouldn't be as simple as reengineering the chloroplasts. The entirety of the plant would have to be redeveloped. You can't just 'implant' an artificial chloroplast and remove the old one."
    I guess I should've clarified(as with many other things, it seems) that the idea is to come up with a concept of a different kind of PLANT to use this chemical, but first focus on the chemical itself.

    P.S.: i have NO clue how to quote more than once in a post.
    Last edited by bigratlover; October 10th, 2012 at 05:03 PM. Reason: i have no idea how to quote more than one one person.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  13. #12  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    59
    hey i found this on wiki:
    The following is a breakdown of the energetics of the photosynthesis process from Photosynthesis by Hall and Rao:[5]
    Starting with the solar spectrum falling on a leaf,
    47% lost due to photons outside the 400–700 nm active range (chlorophyll utilizes photons between 400 and 700 nm, extracting the energy of one 700 nm photon from each one)
    30% of the in-band photons are lost due to incomplete absorption or photons hitting components other than chloroplasts
    24% of the absorbed photon energy is lost due to degrading short wavelength photons to the 700 nm energy level
    68% of the utilized energy is lost in conversion into d-glucose
    35–45% of the glucose is consumed by the leaf in the processes of dark and photo respiration

    Stated another way:
    100% sunlight → non-bioavailable photons waste is 47%, leaving
    53% (in the 400–700 nm range) → 30% of photons are lost due to incomplete absorption, leaving
    37% (absorbed photon energy) → 24% is lost due to wavelength-mismatch degradation to 700 nm energy, leaving
    28.2% (sunlight energy collected by chlorophyl) → 32% efficient conversion of ATP and NADPH to d-glucose, leaving
    9% (collected as sugar) → 35–40% of sugar is recycled/consumed by the leaf in dark and photo-respiration, leaving
    5.4% net leaf efficiency.

    Many plants lose much of the remaining energy on growing roots. Most crop plants store ~0.25% to 0.5% of the sunlight in the product (corn kernels, potato starch, etc.). Sugar cane is exceptional in several ways to yield peak storage efficiencies of ~8%.
    Photosynthetic efficiency - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Reply With Quote  
     

  14. #13  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    59
    hey! i found something:
    The following is a breakdown of the energetics of the photosynthesis process from Photosynthesis by Hall and Rao:[5]
    Starting with the solar spectrum falling on a leaf,
    47% lost due to photons outside the 400–700 nm active range (chlorophyll utilizes photons between 400 and 700 nm, extracting the energy of one 700 nm photon from each one)
    30% of the in-band photons are lost due to incomplete absorption or photons hitting components other than chloroplasts
    24% of the absorbed photon energy is lost due to degrading short wavelength photons to the 700 nm energy level
    68% of the utilized energy is lost in conversion into d-glucose
    35–45% of the glucose is consumed by the leaf in the processes of dark and photo respiration

    Stated another way:
    100% sunlight → non-bioavailable photons waste is 47%, leaving
    53% (in the 400–700 nm range) → 30% of photons are lost due to incomplete absorption, leaving
    37% (absorbed photon energy) → 24% is lost due to wavelength-mismatch degradation to 700 nm energy, leaving
    28.2% (sunlight energy collected by chlorophyl) → 32% efficient conversion of ATP and NADPH to d-glucose, leaving
    9% (collected as sugar) → 35–40% of sugar is recycled/consumed by the leaf in dark and photo-respiration, leaving
    5.4% net leaf efficiency.

    Many plants lose much of the remaining energy on growing roots. Most crop plants store ~0.25% to 0.5% of the sunlight in the product (corn kernels, potato starch, etc.). Sugar cane is exceptional in several ways to yield peak storage efficiencies of ~8%.
    Photosynthetic efficiency - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    s
    so yes, I was right, plants suck at living.(I might be a hypocrite, because other forms of synthesis in other organisms might not be much better.)
    Last edited by bigratlover; October 10th, 2012 at 06:30 PM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  15. #14  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    59
    Seems I'm not the only genius on this planet. Look! Other people though of it, too!(I guess, in a way, maybe. The concepts aren't the same, but eerily similar.)
    Artificial photosynthesis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    msafwan likes this.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  16. #15  
    Forum Junior JoshuaL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    268
    There is a little button that looks like a a voice bubble (the right-most button):
    __
    |_|
    ...`
    Select your text and then click that button to display it as quote.
    "The only appropriate attitude for man to have about the big questions is... doubt. Doubt is humble, and that's what man needs to be, considering that human history is just a litany of getting sh*t dead wrong."

    Take two of these and call me in the morning
    .
    Reply With Quote  
     

  17. #16  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    59
    Oh. thanks JoshuaL, guy!
    says I.
    JoshuaL likes this.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  18. #17  
    Forum Masters Degree
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    719
    As I read somewhere, just because a turtle would be better with a steel shell doesn't mean evolution can lead to turtles with steel shells. Chlorophyll and associated biochemistry is more than good enough; plants are not failing to thrive because they use only a small percentage of the light that falls on them. And the excess absorbed and reflected light and heat would affect temperature within and around them. Not necessarily 'wasted'.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  19. #18  
    Forum Junior JoshuaL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    268
    That's it in a nutshell. Of course, if we start seeding other planets with life we may find this line of inquiry useful.
    "The only appropriate attitude for man to have about the big questions is... doubt. Doubt is humble, and that's what man needs to be, considering that human history is just a litany of getting sh*t dead wrong."

    Take two of these and call me in the morning
    .
    Reply With Quote  
     

  20. #19  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    59
    It may not have to be useful for nature, but could be for science. It could be huge to science. Picture the headline:"SCIENTISTS CREATE AN ENTIRELY NEW KIND OF LIFE!" Just think of all the millions you can get off a patent for such a plant if you were to create it. I mean its not like I could be able or even care to do it, but the scientific applications are nearly endless, if it was created.
    ... Uh maybe a little too optimistic, do you think?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  21. #20  
    Forum Junior JoshuaL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    268
    Optimistic, but in the spirit of science. We do a lot of things just because we can, because we want to know, even if there is no application in the foreseeable future. Sometimes we just have to know if its possible.
    "The only appropriate attitude for man to have about the big questions is... doubt. Doubt is humble, and that's what man needs to be, considering that human history is just a litany of getting sh*t dead wrong."

    Take two of these and call me in the morning
    .
    Reply With Quote  
     

  22. #21  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    59
    That's also what was in my mind when I made up this thread, just not when I was typing that specific reply. The entire thread was just me thinking "Hey- there has to be something better. Maybe I can make people think of how to do for me."
    I know, I'm lazy...
    Reply With Quote  
     

  23. #22  
    Forum Junior JoshuaL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    268
    You're in good company.
    "The only appropriate attitude for man to have about the big questions is... doubt. Doubt is humble, and that's what man needs to be, considering that human history is just a litany of getting sh*t dead wrong."

    Take two of these and call me in the morning
    .
    Reply With Quote  
     

  24. #23  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    59
    This chair is so comfy, and doing all that sciency, learny, researchy stuff? No thank you.
    Reply With Quote  
     

Similar Threads

  1. Chlorophyll-binding protein
    By whusean in forum Biology
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: March 25th, 2012, 04:55 PM
  2. How do non chlorophyll plants produce food
    By Kalpit Darbhe in forum Physics
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: August 29th, 2010, 01:03 PM
  3. What kind of graph is this?
    By raid517 in forum Mathematics
    Replies: 80
    Last Post: May 14th, 2010, 03:21 AM
  4. why chlorophyll is green?
    By Amadeus in forum Biology
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: February 6th, 2010, 02:51 PM
  5. Replies: 8
    Last Post: June 12th, 2009, 12:14 PM
Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •