Structure of the Chloroplast
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The mechanism by which an organelle such as the chloroplast carries out its functions is understood only to the extent that the physical, chemical, and topographical properties of the organelle are known. The actual mechanisms are, of course, described by chemical reactions, which are determined by the physical- chemical properties of the reactants. For reactions in free solution, a knowledge of these properties is usually sufficient. However, a chloroplast is foremost a system of membranes, and a membrane adds another feature to chemical reactions. The end result of a reaction between components of a membrane is determined not only by the inherent properties of the reactants, but also by their locations within the membrane. The physical existence of a membrane can profoundly affect the course and consequences of a reaction. Of importance in this regard is the fact that a membrane acts as a barrier separating two compartments and also provides a means to achieve vectoral reactions between the compartments, in which products are separated from substrates. Therefore, a nonequilibrium distribution of substances, a state containing potential free energy, can occur. Such conditions have great importance in the overall function of the membrane system.
KeywordsThylakoid Membrane Photosynthetic Membrane Chloroplast Envelope Prolamellar Body Porphyridium Cruentum
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