Leaf colour in autumn

Sam Beale sib at brown.edu
Mon Oct 21 20:43:54 EST 1996


It is neither for recycling the magnesium (which is plentiful in virtually
all soils) nor for the trivial amount of nitrogen in chlorophyll that the
pigment is degraded in the Fall.  Rather, chlorophyll is degraded so that
its potentially interfering photochemical activities are eliminated during
the physiologically important degradation of proteins and lipids in leaf
cells and the translocation of their breakdown products for storage.

As a student of chlorophyll biosynthesis, it pains me to see all this
beautiful green stuff get degraded in the Fall.  But of course, in the
Spring, I get renewed by all the chlorophyll biosynthsis going on in the
New England woods.



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