Difference between Chlorophyll and Chloroplast

Updated on July 25, 2018

Despite their slight similarities in sound and spelling, the terms “chlorophyll” and “chloroplast” are completely different.

Summary Table

ChlorophyllChloroplast
A green pigment that has a hydrophobic tail and a hydrophilic headA cell organelle that has inner foldings or reticulations enclosed by a double-celled composite membrane
Does not have a DNA compositionMade up of DNA called cpDNA
Located in the stacks of thylakoids within the chloroplastLocated within the plant cell
Involved in the conversion of light energy into chemical energy for photosynthetic reactionsHouses and supports all the reactions that occur during photosynthesis
Main types are chlorophyll a and chlorophyll bNot divided into other classes since it is already a type of plastid

Definitions

chlorophyll molecules
The location of chlorophyll molecules within a chloroplast

Chlorophyll is a green photosynthetic pigment that can convert light energy into chemical bonds. It has the ability to reflect and absorb light waves, and it is responsible for the green color of most algae and plants.

Parts of a chloroplast
Parts of a chloroplast

Chloroplast, on the other hand, is a cell organelle that can generate energy with the help of photosynthesis.

Chlorophyll vs Chloroplast

Although they are both found in algae and plants, there is a major difference between chlorophyll and chloroplast.

Structure

Aside from their green color and the fact that one houses the other, there is no similarity between chlorophyll and chloroplast since they have an entirely different structural composition. Chlorophyll is a green pigment that has a hydrophobic tail and a hydrophilic head. Since it is a pigment, it can change the color of reflected light by the process of wavelength-selective absorption. The light-absorbing part of chlorophyll is comprised of alternating double and single bonds.

Chloroplast, by comparison, is a cell organelle that has a large amount of chlorophyll. Structurally, it has inner foldings or reticulations that are enclosed by a double-celled composite membrane. Chloroplasts are also made up of dense fluid called stroma, along with thylakoids, which contain chlorophyll.

DNA

Since chlorophyll is a pigment, it does not have a DNA composition. Chloroplast, by contrast, is made up of a DNA called cpDNA.

Location

Chlorophyll is located in the stacks of thylakoids within the chloroplast, while chloroplast is a part of a plant cell.

Function

Chlorophyll and chloroplast both have a major role in the process of photosynthesis, but they function in different ways. Chlorophyll is involved in the conversion of light energy into chemical energy. It channels and traps energy from the sun, which is necessary for converting water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and carbohydrates.

A chloroplast, on the other hand, mainly houses and supports all the reactions that occur during photosynthesis. Similarly, photosynthesis starts and ends within the chloroplast, which contains all the space and enzymes necessary for photosynthetic reactions.

Types

The two main types of chlorophyll are chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b. Chlorophyll a is the main photosynthetic agent, while chlorophyll b acts as an accessory photosynthetic pigment. Chloroplast, by comparison, is not sub-divided into categories since it is already a type of plastid – a double-membrane organelle that is found mainly in algae and plants.

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