Last Updated: November 14, 2018

Definition - What does Chloroplast mean?

A chloroplast is a structure in a plant cell that contains large amounts of chlorophyll. Chloroplasts play a key role in the process of photosynthesis and convert light energy from the sun into chemical energy (carbohydrates) for the plant.

Although not all cells in a plant contain chloroplasts, they are contained in all green parts of a plant. The chlorophyll found inside of the chloroplast is what gives a plant its green color.

MaximumYield explains Chloroplast

Chloroplasts circulate within plant cells and are highly affected by light. When conducting photosynthesis, a chloroplast takes light energy from the sun and converts it to chemical energy. This process results in plants producing oxygen and other important nutrients that a plant needs to survive.

In addition to being a large part of the process of photosynthesis, chloroplasts have several other important functions. These functions include producing amino acids and fatty acids, and the response of a plant's immune system.

The number of chloroplasts that a plant cell can contain varies. For example, algae may only have one chloroplast, while a plant like wheat may have up to 100. Although chloroplasts are an important part of a plant cell, the cell itself cannot make them and they must be passed from one cell to another during cell division.

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