What is Chlorophyll?
Chlorophyll is a green photosynthetic pigment found in plants, Algae, and cyanobacteria. Chlorophyll absorbs mostly in the blue and to a lesser extent red portions of the electromagnetic spectrum, hence its intense green color. Green substance in producers that traps light energy from the sun, which is then used to combine Carbon dioxide and Water into Sugars in the process of photosynthesis Chlorophyll is vital for photosynthesis, which helps plants get Energy from light. Chlorophyll molecules are specifically arranged in and around pigment Proteins complexes called photosystems, which are embedded in the thylakoid membranes of chloroplasts.
Common chlorophyll types in plants and algae are:
Chlorophyll a Chlorophyll b Chlorophyll c Chlorophyll d
 Role of chlorophyll in Healthy Green Plants
Photosynthesis is the process by which your plants convert hydrogen, Oxygen and carbon molecules into basic Sugar structures and later, by breaking these down, create a source of energy and food for themselves. Chlorophyll is a combination of two pigments which make the entire process possible.
Chlorophyll is a green pigment, which is actually a combination of two individual pigments; chlorophyll and chlorophyll B. Other aquarium plant pigments exists, carotene for example is an orange pigment whereas xanthophyll is a yellow pigment. These kinds of pigments are not actually involved in photosynthesis and are normally disguised by chlorophyll, although it is possible to see them in variegated plants. In plants which do not receive light, the resultant sickly yellow appearance is a reduction in the green pigment of chlorophyll, meaning that the yellow pigment is displayed more prominently. As Iron is essential to chlorophyll, Iron deficiencies commonly result in sickly, yellow-looking aquatic plants.
When chlorophyll is exposed to light, it makes the process of photosynthesis possible. After photosynthesis has taken place, respiration means your plants will take in Oxygen and produce heat energy and Carbon dioxide. It is important that you aquarium has a dark period long enough for your plants to respire and levels of Co2 in the aquarium will rise during periods where there are no lights. Higher concentrations of Co2 and light will increase the activity of chlorophyll, which for many plants (including algae), results in more growth in shorter spaces of time.
Research into the various different species of plants which could be kept in the aquarium is essential to be able to understand how much light and darkness they will need. Depending on the origin of the plants, they may have different needs relating to how much time they should spend under lights and the time that they should be given afterwards to respire. If not enough light is given, or not enough time is given for the Sugar structures to be broken down, the plants will become sickly or growth will be stunted.
The need for a specific amount of incoming light and time to respire is another reason why plants with similar needs should be kept together. In a biotope aquarium, due to the plants originating from the same geographical location, ensuring that they do is likely to be less of a problem. Attempting to mimic the natural Environment of what you intend to keep in the aquarium is largely always advisable.
 The color of chlorophyll
It's usually easy to tell when a food has significant amounts of chlorophyll, because chlorophyll provides the green color that is found in grasses, leaves, and many of the vegetables that we eat. These plants and foods would not be green without their chlorophyll, since chlorophyll pigments reflect Sunlight at exact appropriate wavelengths for our eyes to detect them as green. The chlorophyll a molecule actually reflects light in a blue-green range (about 685 nanometer wavelengths), while chlorophyll b reflects light in a more yellow-green color (about 735 nanometer wavelengths). The overall affect, however, is for us to see varying shades of a color we would simply call "green."
 Apart from coloring, has chlorophyll any other role?
The green color of chlorophyll is secondary to its importance in nature as one of the most fundamentally useful chelates. It channels the energy of Sunlight into chemical energy, converting it through the process of photosynthesis. In photosynthesis, chlorophyll absorbs energy to transform Carbon dioxide and Water into Carbohydrates and Oxygen. This is the process that converts solar energy to a form that can be utilized by plants, and by the animals that eat them, to form the foundation of the food chain. Chlorophyll is a molecule that traps light - and is called a photoreceptor.
 Foods that contain chlorophyll
While all green plants contains chlorophyll a, and most vegetables that we eat contain both chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b, some vegetables contain particularly high amounts of total chlorophyll. Best studied of all the vegetables is Spinach (Spinacia oleracea in the Latin scientific name), with this vegetable containing about 300-600 milligrams per ounce.
To understand how high in chlorophyll this amount turns out to be, compare the chlorophyll content of spinach to another of the World's Healthiest Foods - olives. Chlorophyll is one of the primary pigments in olives, but olives contain only 30-300 micrograms per ounce (about 1/1000th as much as spinach). Some Olive oil producers deliberately allow leaves to be placed in the olive presses to increase the chlorophyll and "grassiness" of the Olive oil.
All of the green vegetables in the World's Healthiest Foods - asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green Cabbage, celery, collard greens, green beans, green peas, kale, leeks, green olives, parsley, romaine Lettuce, sea vegetables, Spinach, Swiss Chard, and Turnip greens are concentrated sources of chlorophyll.
 Chlorophyll and health
Research on the health benefits of chlorophyll has focused on the area of cancer (including treatment and prevention). This research got underway when damage to genes (or more precisely, to the genes' DNA) by carcinogenic substances called aflatoxins (or more precisely aflatoxin B1, or AFB1), was found to be prevented by chlorophyllin. Chlorophyllin is a derivative of chlorophyll in which the Magnesium in its center is removed (usually by placing it in an acid bath in a science lab) and replaced with Copper.
Research studies in humans have found that damage to DNA by aflatoxin can be decreased as much as 55% through supplementation with chlorophyllin at 100 milligrams, three times a day, for four months. This amount of chlorophyllin, 300 milligrams per day, is the same amount of chlorophyll found in one weighted ounce of spinach (a little over 1/2 cup of chopped raw spinach). Although research is still in the early stage, prevention and treatment of liver cancer, skin cancer, and colon cancer are all being investigated in relationship to intake of chlorophyll-containing vegetables and supplementation with chlorophyllin.
 The effect of cooking on chlorophyll
One of the primary reasons for the change in color when green vegetables are cooked is the change in chlorophyll. What happens during this process is actually quite interesting.
 The chemical perspective
Chlorophyll has a chemical structure that is quite similar to a chemical structure found within our red blood cells. A basic difference is the fact that this structure (called a porphyrin ring) contains an atom of iron at its center when it is found in our red blood cells, but when it is found in plants, it contains an atom of magnesium at the center. When plants are heated and/or exposed to acid (and when green vegetables are cooked and/or exposed to acid), the magnesium gets removed from the center of this ring structure and replaced by an atom of hydrogen. (In biochemistry, the chlorophyll a gets turned into a molecule called pheophytin a, and the chlorophyll b gets turned into pheophytin b). With this one simple change, the color of the vegetable changes from bright green to olive-gray. (The pheophytin provides a green-gray color, and the pheophytin b provides an olive-green color).
 The practical perspective
The jury is definitely still out on the impact of cooking on chlorophyll. At one end of the spectrum, it's totally clear that dramatic loss of chlorophyll occurs after prolonged cooking. In studies on broccoli, for example, about two thirds of the chlorophyll was removed after 20 minutes of boiling. Researchers have also determined that there are steadily increasing losses of both chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b when the boiling time for Broccoli is increased from 5 to 20 minutes. However, at cooking times less than five minutes, the research is not as clear, and some studies suggest that brief steaming of vegetables like spinach actually increases the amount of chlorophyll that can be absorbed into our body.
Whenever a vegetable is cooked long enough to cause a change in color from bright green to olive-gray, we know that some of the chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b in the vegetable have been changed to pheophytins a and b. This color change is one of the reasons we have established the relatively short steaming times for green vegetables in the World's Healthiest Cooking techniques! Our cooking methods are designed to preserve the unique concentrations of chlorophyll found in these magnificent vegetables.
 Practical tips
Overcooking is particularly important to avoid when it comes to chlorophyll, but with very short steaming times, the chlorophyll content of these foods is preserved, and absorption of chlorophyll from these foods may actually be increased. Consumption of these green vegetables in raw form is also an excellent way to obtain the health benefits of chlorophyll.
 Health Benefits of Chlorophyll
True enough, chlorophyll has been seen to provide health benefits to those who take them. It has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties. Here are some of the known chlorophyll benefits:
- It has been seen to help in the growth and repair of tissues.
- Chlorophyll helps in neutralizing the Pollution that we breathe in and intake everyday - a good supplement for smokers
- It efficiently delivers Magnesium and helps the blood in carrying the much needed Oxygen to all cells and tissues.
- It had been seen to have a good potential in stimulating red blood cells to improve Oxygen supply.
- Along with other Vitamins such as A, C and E, chlorophyll has been seen to help neutralize free radicals that do damage to healthy cells.
- Chlorophyll is also an effective deodorizer to reduce bad breath, urine, fecal waste, and body odor.
- It may reduce the ability of carcinogens to bind with the DNA in different major organs in the body.
- Chlorophyll may be useful in treating calcium oxalate stone ailments
- It possesses some anti-atherogenic activity as well.
- It can be used to treat infected wounds naturally.
- These are only a few of the multitude benefits that chlorophyll can do to the body.
- It has antimutagenic and anti-carcinogenic properties so that it may be helpful in protecting your body against toxins and in reducing drug side effects.
 Industrial Uses of Chlorophyll
In the food industry, chlorophyll is used as a natural pigment ingridient in processed foods. Because of its strong green pigment and consumers growing preference for natural foods, chlorophyll is gaining importance as food additive. Increasing number of researches are also reporting health benefits from consumption of high chlorophyll diet. This in turn is encouraging food processors to switch from artificial pigments to chlorophyll-based natural coloring.
In the Cosmetics industry, chlorophyll a (known as Natural Green 3) is used in soaps and cosmetics products.