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Chlorophyll

Indophile
Posts: 1,414
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11/11/2011 1:17:02 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Is it possible to create chlorophyll in the lab?

Is it possible to coat humans with chlorophyll so that humans can get energy from sunlight?
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belle
Posts: 4,113
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11/11/2011 2:37:41 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
i believe it would be easier to isolate chlorophyll from a plant or bacterial species than it would be to synthesize it from scratch... in fact i imagine that it is quite simple as i will be performing that exact experiment in my organic chemistry class in a few weeks. the problem is that having chlorophyll is not nearly enough to perform photosynthesis. theres a vast number of enzymatic pathways that we would need to genetically engineer into ourselves in order to be able to photosynthesize... i don't think our genetic engineering skillz are up to the task yet.

also this is only speculation, but since the animal lifestyle is so much more energy intensive than the plant lifestyle, i would guess that photosynthesis is not fast/efficient enough to power something like a human body with all the sh*t it has to get done. we would also need to invent some way to increase the efficiency of the process to avoid starving...
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
Crede
Posts: 455
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11/11/2011 3:11:44 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/11/2011 1:17:02 PM, Indophile wrote:
Is it possible to create chlorophyll in the lab?

Is it possible to coat humans with chlorophyll so that humans can get energy from sunlight?

Chlorophyll, more like borophyll.

Somebody had to do it...I'm out.
Indophile
Posts: 1,414
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11/11/2011 4:51:20 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/11/2011 2:37:41 PM, belle wrote:
i believe it would be easier to isolate chlorophyll from a plant or bacterial species than it would be to synthesize it from scratch... in fact i imagine that it is quite simple as i will be performing that exact experiment in my organic chemistry class in a few weeks. the problem is that having chlorophyll is not nearly enough to perform photosynthesis. theres a vast number of enzymatic pathways that we would need to genetically engineer into ourselves in order to be able to photosynthesize... i don't think our genetic engineering skillz are up to the task yet.

How does it work?

also this is only speculation, but since the animal lifestyle is so much more energy intensive than the plant lifestyle, i would guess that photosynthesis is not fast/efficient enough to power something like a human body with all the sh*t it has to get done. we would also need to invent some way to increase the efficiency of the process to avoid starving...

Yes, but it wouldn't hurt to be able to get energy from sunlight would it? It could be supplementary.
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drafterman
Posts: 18,870
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11/11/2011 6:53:27 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/11/2011 1:17:02 PM, Indophile wrote:
Is it possible to create chlorophyll in the lab?

Is it possible to coat humans with chlorophyll so that humans can get energy from sunlight?

No to the latter. Chlorophyll is a chemical in chloroplasts, an organelle in certain types of cells (primarily plants). The entire metabolism of the organism, down to the cellular level must be arranged to support it.

You could no more get energy from coating yourself in chlorophyll than you could by coating yourself in solar panels.
Indophile
Posts: 1,414
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11/11/2011 7:02:15 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/11/2011 6:53:27 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 11/11/2011 1:17:02 PM, Indophile wrote:
Is it possible to create chlorophyll in the lab?

Is it possible to coat humans with chlorophyll so that humans can get energy from sunlight?

No to the latter. Chlorophyll is a chemical in chloroplasts, an organelle in certain types of cells (primarily plants). The entire metabolism of the organism, down to the cellular level must be arranged to support it.

You could no more get energy from coating yourself in chlorophyll than you could by coating yourself in solar panels.

Well yeah, but then the question can easily be rephrased to Can the energy delivery system from chloroplasts be reproduced to fit humans?

There is a sci-fi novel called Old Man's War. This concept is used there, which is why I asked this question in the first place.
You will say that I don't really know you
And it will be true.
drafterman
Posts: 18,870
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11/11/2011 8:33:27 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/11/2011 7:02:15 PM, Indophile wrote:
At 11/11/2011 6:53:27 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 11/11/2011 1:17:02 PM, Indophile wrote:
Is it possible to create chlorophyll in the lab?

Is it possible to coat humans with chlorophyll so that humans can get energy from sunlight?

No to the latter. Chlorophyll is a chemical in chloroplasts, an organelle in certain types of cells (primarily plants). The entire metabolism of the organism, down to the cellular level must be arranged to support it.

You could no more get energy from coating yourself in chlorophyll than you could by coating yourself in solar panels.

Well yeah, but then the question can easily be rephrased to Can the energy delivery system from chloroplasts be reproduced to fit humans?

There is a sci-fi novel called Old Man's War. This concept is used there, which is why I asked this question in the first place.

That's a solid: maybe.
http://scienceblogs.com...
belle
Posts: 4,113
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11/13/2011 12:04:44 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/11/2011 4:51:20 PM, Indophile wrote:
How does it work?

photosynthesis? or extracting the chlorophyll? the extraction is ridiculously simple... all you need is acetone, a centrifuge, and what amounts to an oil you can use to separate the pigment molecules from any polar substances that come out of the spinach. evidently hydrocarbons without functional groups are rare in cells. go figure!

photosynthesis is ridiculously complicated on the other hand... i don't particularly want to know how it works, but i am sure i will have to at some point.
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
Ren
Posts: 7,102
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11/13/2011 12:11:55 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/11/2011 8:33:27 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 11/11/2011 7:02:15 PM, Indophile wrote:
At 11/11/2011 6:53:27 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 11/11/2011 1:17:02 PM, Indophile wrote:
Is it possible to create chlorophyll in the lab?

Is it possible to coat humans with chlorophyll so that humans can get energy from sunlight?

No to the latter. Chlorophyll is a chemical in chloroplasts, an organelle in certain types of cells (primarily plants). The entire metabolism of the organism, down to the cellular level must be arranged to support it.

You could no more get energy from coating yourself in chlorophyll than you could by coating yourself in solar panels.

Well yeah, but then the question can easily be rephrased to Can the energy delivery system from chloroplasts be reproduced to fit humans?

There is a sci-fi novel called Old Man's War. This concept is used there, which is why I asked this question in the first place.

That's a solid: maybe.
http://scienceblogs.com...

Actually, it still looks like a solid no; however, that article was fascinating--thanks.
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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11/14/2011 3:38:18 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/11/2011 1:17:02 PM, Indophile wrote:
Is it possible to create chlorophyll in the lab?

Yes, the lab syntheis was accomplished in 1960. http://www.iupac.org...

Is it possible to coat humans with chlorophyll so that humans can get energy from sunlight?

No. Humans can't absorb plant nutrients through their skin.