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Which of the following is NOT a part of an ATP molecule? A. adenine B. ribose C. chlorophyll D. phosphate
Chlorophyll B is, chemically, very similar to hemoglobin (the stuff that carries oxygen in your bloodstream and gives it that lovely red color). [ [ However, hemoglobin is an iron porphyrin (Fe surrounded by four pyrroles, which are organic ring molecules with nitrogen atoms surrounding the Fe), whereas chlorophyll (A&B) is a magnesium porphyrin. Chlorophyll is an effective photoreceptor
(capture light energy efficiently) because they have alternating single and double bonds. Because of a slight difference in their structures, A and B tend to absorb light over different ranges of wavelengths, and therefore the two complement each other in biological systems (i.e. in plants). However, it is not enough to just absorb the light energy; there must also be efficient means of transferring that energy to chemical potential (i.e. to transform it into a form that it can be used to do some work). In biological systems, a complex sequence of reactions within a cellular structure, called a chloroplast, uses the light energy to make chemical energy by reducing CO2. In other words, your "bio-solar cell" would have to somehow either (1) mimic this process, which sounds pretty tough, or (2) somehow transfer energy directly into the motion of electrons (which could cause a current, etc.). Then, you would have to figure out a way to make a cell which would prevent the chlorophyll from degrading. Anyway, what I wanted to say was, it is tough to make a solar cell that is more efficient than a chloroplast; it absorbs photons with near-unit efficiency (almost every photon that hits a chlorophyll molecule gets absorbed) and transforms light energy to chemical energy very efficiently as well. But a plant can always make more of it when it starts to degrade, and a solar cell made by man cannot repair itself. I hope these meandering observations helped! Robert Topper ] ]
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