Monday, May 10, 2010

Trivial Tuesdays - Plants

Trivial Pursuit is hitting us with a basic but highly important question this week. It needs no further introduction.

What makes plants green?


Hibiscus leaves


Discovered in 1817 by Pierre-Joseph Pelletier and Joseph Bienaimé Caventou, chlorophyll in addition to giving plants their characteristic green colouration makes photosynthesis possible. You might of heard about photosynthesis, it's a reaction that takes place in plants transforming carbon dioxide (CO2) and the energy from the sun into sugar and oxygen (O2). This reaction is one of the main reasons there is life on Earth. Plants make the air breathable and transform the energy from the sun into something we can use. Important little buggers aren't they?

Tree: A Life StoryI'm reading Tree by David Suzuki and Wayne Grady - an absolutely fantastic book which I will be reviewing in a couple of weeks - this book is filled with fascinating information, including mind boggling facts about chlorophyll. David Suzuki tells us that chlorophyll is composed of 5 elements: carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, and magnesium. Big deal you might say, that's the four basic elements of life plus one (ok, I admit the chances you said this are slim).  It gets interesting when you find out that we, humans, need 200 milligrams of magnesium a day to maintain healthy bones and blood. Revolutionary as this may be for the Eat More Greens cause, it's only when you turn the page that you are completely mind boggled and must put the book down in chock. Chlorophyll is eerily similar to hemoglobin, the basic molecule of human blood. The difference is that in the center of chlorophyll is an atom of Magnesium which attracts light and whilst hemoglobin has iron in it's center specialized in binding oxygen. ''Chlorophyll is green blood.'' It is also stated that chlorophyll is used in alternative cancer treatments, they give chlorophyll transfusions to the patients. Crazy. 

Oh and Tony Stark, a.k.a. Ironman, drinks chlorophyll to counteract the effect of his power source. 

Take care!

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