Chromoplasts for NEET

Introduction

Plant cells possess a characteristic component called plastids. They primarily function to produce and store food materials in algae and plant cells. All plastids develop from proplastids in the plant cell and mature into respective matured plastids based on the specific function a cell is going to perform. Mature plastids also show the ability to convert from one form to another.


Plastids are a distinctive feature that is possessed by plant cells. Plastids are organelles that have double-membrane-bound. Their main purpose is to make and store food. They often have different types of pigmentations, which causes them to change the colors of the cells.


Plastids are membrane-bound heterogenous organelles. Chromoplasts are a type of plastids that lack chlorophyll. Chromoplasts are seen in fruits, flowers, aging leaves of the plants, etc. They are also responsible for imparting distinctive colors to the plants.


We will learn in detail about chromoplast, it’s characteristics and functions in this article.


Types of Plastids

The three types of plastids that are found in algae or plant cells are:

Chloroplast

These are specialized organelles containing chlorophyll pigment and carotenoids found in most plant cells. They contain a pigment known as chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is responsible for the plant’s green color and ability to absorb energy from sunlight. This energy is used to convert water and atmospheric carbon dioxide into sugars. That can be metabolized through the biochemical process of photosynthesis.


Chromoplast

These are plastids that produce and store pigments. They contain carotene and xanthophylls. Chromoplasts are responsible for different colors found in leaves, fruits, flowers and vegetables. They impart colors other than green. These are present in petals and ripened fruits. Chromoplasts also help in the pollination and dispersal of seeds.


Leucoplast

These plastids are non-pigmented, in distinction to other plastids such as chloroplast. Leucoplast varies in shape. They are found in underground plants and stored in food.


They are colorless organelles that store various food products, For example, amyloplasts store starch, proteinoplasts store proteins, elaioplasts store fat and so on.


Characteristics of Chromoplasts

  • Chromoplasts are plastids containing carotenoids.

  • They lack chlorophyll but synthesize various other coloured pigments.

  • Carotenoid pigments are responsible for different colors like yellow, orange and red color imparted to fruits, flowers, old leaves, roots, etc.

  • Chromoplasts may develop from green chloroplasts. Chlorophyll and thylakoid membranes disappear and carotenoids are accumulated, e.g. during ripening of fruits.

  • The transition of chloroplasts to chromoplasts is much evident in fruit ripening. There is an extensive synthesis of carotenoids. Thus, chlorophyll and thylakoids are degraded.

  • The DNA of plastids remains unchanged during transformation but ribosomes and rRNA disappear.

  • Some chromoplasts are capable of differentiating back to chloroplasts, e.g. chromoplasts of carrot root and citrus fruit, pumpkin, cucumber, etc. They lose carotene pigment and develop photosynthetic apparatus consisting of chlorophyll and thylakoid system.

  • Redifferentiation to chloroplasts is promoted by gibberellin and nitrates.

  • Chromoplast development is irreversible in plants like pepper and tomato.

  • In some plants like papaya, carrot, mango, watermelon chromoplasts are derived from the proplastids or leucoplasts.

  • Light, temperature and nutrients are important factors in the formation of chromoplasts.

  • They have plastoglobules and carotenoid-lipoprotein substructures, which store specific carotenoid pigments and specific lipoprotein fibrils.

  • Carotenoids are divided into two classes: carotene and xanthophylls. Carotene is orange in color and xanthophyll is yellow.

  • In xanthophylls, oxygen is present, e.g. fucoxanthin, lutein, etc.

  • Carotenes only contain carbon and hydrogen, e.g: carotene, lycopene, etc.


(Image will be uploaded soon)


Types of Chromoplasts

Chromoplasts are basically heterogenous plastids. Based on the carotenoid bearing components, they are classified into four types:

  • Globular Chromoplasts: They consist of plastoglobuli that bear carotenoid pigments. Often, they are concentrated in the peripheral stroma of the plant cell. Examples: Ranunculus repens– petals, Capsicum- yellow fruits, Citrus fruit- perianth, etc.

  • Membranous Chromoplasts: Carotene pigments are present in about 20 concentric membranes. Examples: Citrus sinensis– petals, daffodils, tulips.

  • Tubular Chromoplasts: Carotenoids are present in lipoprotein tubules. Examples: Red fruits of capsicum, hypanthium and rose.

  • Crystalline Chromoplasts: Pure carotene is embedded as crystals. Examples: Carrot roots- ꞵ-carotene, Tomato fruits- lycopene.


Functions of Chromoplast

  • They play an essential role in cross-pollination and dispersal of seeds by attracting animals and insects.

  • Carotenoids act as antioxidants in plants.

  • Carotene found in carrots is a precursor of vitamin A.

  • Dietary carotenoids reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

  • Fucoxanthin has shown to have anti-diabetic effects and it is also known to work against obesity.

  • In some plants and algae, chromoplasts act as organelles within the cells that serve as a site for photosynthesis.

FAQs on Chromoplasts for NEET

1. What are chromoplasts?

Chromoplasts are pigmented plastids that are not green in color. Chromoplasts are usually yellow, red and appear in fruits, flowers or aging leaves of the plant parts. Their primary function is to provide distinctive colors to the plant parts and they are non-photosynthetic pigments that lack chlorophyll.

2. What is the difference between chromoplast and chloroplast?

The basic differences between chromoplasts and chloroplasts are as follows:

  • Chromoplasts are plastids other than green in color while chloroplasts are green-coloured plastids. This is because chromoplasts lack chlorophyll but chloroplasts contain chlorophyll and other carotenoids.

  • Chromoplasts are usually not involved in photosynthesis but they play an important role in pollination by providing distinct color to plant parts. Chlorophyll, on the other hand, performs photosynthesis.

  • Chromoplasts contain lamellar systems and only remnants of thylakoids and chloroplasts contain lamellar systems, ribosomes and thylakoids.

3. What is a chloroplast structure?

Chloroplasts are oval in shape and are bi membranous, meaning they have two membranes, specifically outer and inner. The intermembrane space  that is located in between the outer and inner membrane is approximately about 10-20 nanometer wide. There is a space in the inner membrane which is known as the stroma. It is a dense liquid that resides within the chloroplast.

4. Is chloroplast a plastid?

In eukaryotic cells, the main sites for photosynthesis are organelles which are called plastids. These plastids are the chloroplasts and any other cytoplasmic organelles that contain pigment and are capable of harvesting. Their other purpose is to convert light and carbon dioxide into food and energy.

5. How does a chloroplast work?

The main function of the chloroplast is to absorb the sunlight and make use of it in the sense of an interjection with the water and carbon dioxide gas to manufacture food for the plant. They store the sunlight in the form of energy in ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) and NADPH (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate) through a process known as photosynthesis.

6. How should I prepare for the Chromoplast topic in NEET?

Chromoplast is a chapter of the Biology subject for the NEET (National entrance Eligibility Test). Although it looks overwhelming at the beginning, the students can successfully tackle the topic if they have a certain study method that helps them understand the concept better. There are many study tips students can use to crack exams at NEET. One of the most important ones is to familiarize yourself with the concept first. If you go through the chapter once, you will know what you are supposed to read and your brain automatically prepares you for the things you are about to read. Reading aloud and questioning as you read makes you active and focused towards the topic, which helps a lot in this as well as many other concepts for the NEET.

7. What are the functions of chromoplast?

They play an essential role in cross-pollination and the dispersal of seeds by luring animals and insects.

  • Carotenoids function as antioxidants in plants; for instance, ꞵ-carotene found in carrots is a precursor of vitamin A.

  • Cardiovascular diseases and cancer in many parts of the body is prevented by dietary carotenoids. 

  • A xanthophyll called Fucoxanthin is an anti-diabetic. It is known for working perfectly against the problem of obesity. 

  • Chromoplasts are famous for performing as organelles within the cells that are functional photosynthesizers. This occurs in many plants and algae.

8. What is the difference between chromoplasts and leucoplasts?

The differences between chromoplasts and leucoplasts are listed below:

Chromoplasts

Leucoplasts

They are pigmented plastid (other than green in colour) mostly yellow or red.

Leucoplasts are colourless plastids.

They contain carotenoids and xanthophylls and lack the pigment chlorophyll.

They do not contain any sort of pigments.

They provide distinct colour to the plant parts and have a role in pollination and seed dispersal.

They are used to store starch, fat and proteins in the plant body.

They do not contain lamellar system and only remnants of thylakoids are present.

They have several nucleoids and uniform granular stroma.

Comment