The Miracle Sugar

Chlorophyll is much more than the green material in the leaf. It is the bio-lab where sunlight, water and carbon dioxide are combined to produce a simple sugar called glucose. This sugar is the fuel for every plant process and also forms the basis of the plant compounds we are striving to produce. 95% of the weight of a crop is determined by photosynthesis, while just 5% involves soil minerals, i.e. if we were to burn 100 kg of plant material, the ash that remained would weigh just 5 kg and this residue would consist of potassium, calcium, phosphorus and other soil minerals.

The chemistry of glucose (C6H12O6) involves the key trio in all organic compounds – carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Glucose, a simple six-carbon sugar, is the basis of starch, cellulose, oil, lignin, wax and protein. All of these valued compounds, with the exception of protein, contain varying amounts of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, based on the glucose from which they are derived. Protein differs in that it also contains up to 16% nitrogen and a sulphur component along with the CHO trio. The major difference between these compounds is that they all contain more carbon than their glucose building blocks. For example, it takes numerous six-carbon glucose molecules to create a single molecule of high-carbon oil or cellulose.