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Green Lights

George, you are up to mischief again!  Now, you have GOT to quit confusing us
with facts once we have our minds made up!

Chlorophyl is green, meaning it reflects ONE very narrow little band of the
entire green light spectrum. I have been informed that the molecules of
Chlorophyl and the molecules of Hemaglobin are identical, except for one
little Iron atom in a corner (in Hemaglobin) and Magnesium (If I remember
correctly) in the same location in Chlorophyl. One is green, the other is
red. One is responsible for all of the solar energy converted to food for the
entire Earth, the other is the carrier of Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide for
almost all ANIMAL life.  An interesting situation. 

Anthocynanins are the source of red colors in plant life. They are dyes.
 They have very little to do with photosynthesis, except that there is
evidence that at least some of the energy they absorb from sunlight is
"transferred" to the chlorophyl in some way. 

The actual mechanism of photosynthesis is a heck of a lot more complicated
than any of us really want to get into, but suffice it to say that LIGHT
ENERGY photons are collected by the molecule of chlorophyl until enough
energy is captured, then there is a little "burst" of chemical activity, and
a molecule of sugar is synthesized from CO2 and H2O. (If you later burn that
sugar, the heat released in the fire is the same energy the chlorophyl
originally obtained from the sunlight, and added in the process of making
sugar from CO2 and H2O.)  The photosythentic "capturability" of various
vavelengths of the electromagnetic energy we know as "light" varies among
various plants, including algaes. Different strokes for different folks.
(Honey Bees see quite clearly in UV light, which we can't "see" at all.) 

Is there a bottom line? Yep. 

There is advertising and there is truth, and sometimes there is advertising
that is true. (Honest, folks, it DOES happen!! 8^D) It is quite rare that the
Engineering Division of a company has any influence at all on the Advertising
folks. Advertising often does NOT reflect the Engineering truth.  That, in a
nutshell, is why this List is here. We are looking for truth. 

Folks like George poke little holes in advertising balloons to help us
discern truth. Sometimes we "get it," sometimes we don't have a clue. Most of
us simply do not have the equipment necessary to measure the strengths of the
various wavelengths of visible light, plus near InraRed and UV, as they are
emitted by our bulbs. We are pretty much stuck with Advertising claims,
trying to sort the truth from the nonsense. 

As a general rule, (Hey, sometimes George is mistaken.  I have not seen this
occur for the past year, but sometimes it must happen.) if George can grow
plants with "X" brand of lights, you can pretty much bet the "spectrum" of
the bulbs is good for plants. We humans can see green better than we see many
other colors, so green in a bulb means WE see the plants better. It also
often means the plants will generally grow better, because only a VERY narrow
band of the green is reflected by chlorophyl. More light equals more growth.
Well, sort of. There are lots of other factors, but without light, there will
be no photosynthesis, and no growth. 

It would be quite interesting to carefully design a bulb so almost all of the
emitted spectrum was in the green band. I would bet most of our plants would
still grow under that light. It would surely be a lot of fun to try!  It
would be a very strange looking aquarium!! :-)

In the meantime, I take advertising claims with a lot of doubt, and look to
the collective experience of this List to sort the good stuff from the junk.
So far, I have saved a LOT of money by lurking on this list and learning.


Jean Olson
JOlson8590 at AOL_com
Out in the Boonies, near
Cambridge, Iowa