Q:

What is the main function of the pyrenoid?

A:

Quick Answer

Pyrenoids primarily act as centers of carbon dioxide (CO2) fixation in algae, creating and ensuring a CO2-rich environment. They sometimes assist in the catalyzing of inorganic CO2 into starch. In some types of algae, pyrenoids serve as storage sites for carbohydrates.

  Know More

Full Answer

Pyrenoids are sub-cellular, proteinaceous micro-compartments that exist within the chloroplast of many algae. They consist of 90 percent RuBisCo (Ribulose-1,5-biphosphate-carboxylase-oxygenase), an enzyme that plays a key role in photosynthesis. Pyrenoids have a plastic structure that allows them to migrate and respond to light within the chloroplast.

Pyrenoids were first discovered in 1803, but scientists did not know a lot about them until the 1970s, when they were successfully isolated from algae. Scientific evidence suggests that pyrenoids are capable of converting dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) into carbon dioxide in sufficiently large amounts. This plays a key role in aquatic photosynthesis, where algae find it more difficult to access CO2 because of its extremely slow diffusion rate in water compared to air.

A lot is still unknown about pyrenoids beyond their association with carbon fixation. The structure of these bodies varies vastly with different algal species. For instance, in dinoflagellates, multiple pyrenoids can be observed in a chloroplast, while in other species such as the red algae, a single pyrenoid exists in each chloroplast.

Learn more about Human Anatomy

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the main function of the cardiovascular system?

    A:

    The main function of the cardiovascular system is to transport nutrients, waste products and gases around the body. Moreover, it protects the body from blood loss and infection, helps the body keep a constant body temperature and helps maintain fluid balance. It serves as an internal road network that links all body parts.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the main function of the musculoskeletal system?

    A:

    The musculoskeletal system's primary function is to connect tissues to bones, thus establishing a physical framework to support the body's weight during movement. This system is given commands via interconnected nerves that communicate sensory interpretation, generate musculoskeletal activity and cause muscular contraction.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the main function of the excretory system?

    A:

    The excretory system is a collection of organs tasked with removing excess nitrogen and other toxins from the body. The kidneys, liver and large intestine perform most of the filtration duties. Solid waste passes out through the colon, gaseous waste exits the body through the lungs and excess liquid leaves through the bladder and skin.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the main function of the circulatory system?

    A:

    The main function of the circulatory system is to move blood and lymph through the body. Doing this transports nutrients and oxygen to the cells of the body and removes waste products such as carbon dioxide. The circulatory system is necessary to regulate temperature and pH balance and protect the body from diseases.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore