Why does a plant not take in all of the light energy that reaches their leaves?

There are four main reasons this could occur. The light photon could simply miss the chlorophyll molecule in the plant leaves. If they don't meet, how could the chlorophyll do anything with that light? Furthermore, the light may be of the wrong wavelength: chlorophyll can only use light in a specific area of the spectrum. It might be the case that there is another rate limiting step stopping the chlorophyll using the light as much as it otherwise could. Imagine eating a cake, but you can only take a spoonfull of cake every time you get a math question correct. You could only eat that cake as fast as you can work out the questions. That would be an example of a rate limiting step.Lastly, it could simply be that the chlorophyll is already working at maximum rate. It can only work so fast, and if lots of light hits the chlorophyll when the molecule is busy, the light won't wait around in a queue. That light will move on and is effectively lost to that chlorophyll.

Answered by Thomas D. Biology tutor


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