Do Bacteria Have Chloroplasts? Why, What Type, How And Detailed Facts

Chloroplasts are organelles that are located inside the plant cells. Photosynthesis is the process in which solar energy is converted to chemical energy for growth.

A simple answer to bacteria having chloroplast is NO. But, then some photoautotrophic bacteria perform photosynthesis for which the need of chlorophyll is mandatory and is incorporated in the membrane. The cell membranes are incorporated with chlorophyll.

Chlorophyll is considered a reaction center for absorbing light. The forms in which the existence of the reaction centers occur are sheets or sac tubes which depend on the amount of needful surface area. The type that fulfils the exception in bacteria having chloroplasts is cyanobacteria. The cyanobacteria are the most diverse form of bacteria which perform photosynthesis yet have no chloroplast.

The fact lies that they do have chlorophylls that are dispersed within the cytoplasm which makes them different from the photosynthetic eukaryotes having them in the chloroplast. They are the largest and are referred to as blue-green algae.

The very answer to the question of do bacteria have chloroplasts is the reason for which bacteria do possess chloroplast is for all the photosynthetic bacteria have unstacked membranes that are photosynthetic having within them pigments that harvest light and works just like the thylakoids of the chloroplast.

Cyanobacteria that do not have chloroplast yet play photosynthesis carry out oxygenic photosynthesis that uses up water as a donor. This system of photosynthesis represents closely the eukaryotes. They use Phycobilins as the needed pigment, the components are located in the thylakoid linked with phycobilisomes and the carbon dioxide is assimilated via the Calvin cycle.

Do all Bacteria have chloroplast?

Bacteria do not possess any chloroplast. As exceptions, few bacteria are by nature photoautotrophic and thus perform the process of photosynthesis.

The organelles that are used up for conducting photosynthesis are called a chloroplast. In many general ways, cyanobacteria are regarded to be the ancestors of the chloroplast. The cyanobacteria are found in large groups and are also referred to as both blue-green algae.

The cyanobacteria as well as classified to be photosynthetic bacteria are found in large groups and are also referred to as both blue-green algae as well as classified to be photosynthetic bacteria. They perform photosynthesis even without having any chloroplast. The reason behind this metabolism is that they have chlorophylls inside the cytoplasm. There are flat sacs that are used for structures called thylakoids and this is the place where the process of photosynthesis takes place. They produce energy from light and carbon dioxide.

Source- Wikipedia

Do photoautotrophic bacteria have chloroplast?

The green plants and the photosynthetic bacteria are considered to be photoautotrophs. They almost derive their food for energy by synthesizing the food from the light and thus are also capable of suing up carbon dioxide as the main source of carbon.

Some of the bacteria are photoautotrophs and mostly are referred to as blue-green algae or cyanobacteria. Just like plants, these produce chlorophyll. The most vital fact concerned is that a cyanobacterium is responsible for the origin of the life of a plant.

The bacteria do lack chloroplast but yet some of the photoautotrophic one’s show photosynthesis for the presence of the chlorophyll which is added inside the membrane. They are inside the cell and are the centers for reaction to absorb light.

These are thus considered to be true prokaryotes for not having chloroplast yet performing photosynthesis. The reason is the presence of chlorophylls that are packed in the cytoplasm.

Read more about Bacterial DNA Replication Steps

Do photosynthetic bacteria have chloroplast?

The first in the classification of bacteria are photosynthetic bacteria. It is termed to use up sunlight to fix carbon dioxide to carbon that is organic under the conditions that are anaerobic.

Here the electron donor is the ferrous iron. Photosynthetic bacteria maintain their energy for metabolism and growth from organic acids or carbon monoxide. Their growth is mostly seen in the organic acids that produce carbon dioxide and hydrogen.

These bacteria have produced phenomenal metabolic versatility. They are capable of transforming light energy into biochemically needful energy yet can grow without or with oxygen via anaerobic or aerobic respiration.

Which Bacteria do possess Chloroplast?

The chloroplast of algae and plants are at present believed to develop from a cyanobacteria endosymbiont, which is focused on the involvement of the proteins shared in the oxygenic photosynthesis.

The phylogenetic relation for the chloroplast and the genomes of cyanobacteria are a piece of important evidence for the notion that the chloroplast has originated from cyanobacterial endosymbiosis. A cyanobacterium performs oxygenic photosynthesis that has special internal membranes known as thylakoids. Thylakoids are important for the activity of photosynthesis.

It is also believed to develop from the system of gene expression. The chloroplast of algae and plants and the cyanobacteria share the membranes of thylakoids with sulfolipids and galactolipids, the pigments and the components. It is believed and revealed from the post-genomic era that many substances like peptidoglycan or glycolipids that are shared by chloroplast and cyanobacteria were synthesized via several pathways and many phylogenetic enzymes that were unrelated. The formation of Chloroplast can be very complex compared to any single metabolism on the cyanobacteria.

do bacteria have chloroplasts
Sheaths of Cyanobacteria
“Sheaths of cyanobacteria (950x magnification)” by ArchesNPS is marked with CC PDM 1.0

Do cyanobacteria have chlorophyll?

Cyanobacteria can be filamentous or unicellular with many having sheaths that bind to rest cells or in the filaments into the colonies.

They do contain only one form of chlorophyll, which is chlorophyll a and is a green pigment. In addition to it, they also have several yellows in colour carotenoids, a phycobilin which is a blue pigment and in also some species they have a red pigment called phycoerythrin.

As they have the presence of chlorophyll, this helps them despite having no chloroplast in the process of photosynthesis. They are embedded inside the cell membranes and help in light-absorbing and carrying out the process of food making.

Source- “Chlorophyll” by dominik18s is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Why do cyanobacteria do not have chloroplast?

Just like the other prokaryotes, they lack a membrane-bound nucleus. Chloroplast, endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria and Golgi apparatus. The concerning fact is that bacteria do lack chloroplast.

However, the blue-green algae do perform photosynthesis. They perform this process with the lack of chloroplasts and the presence of chlorophyll.

All other functions that are carried out by eukaryotes with the help of the organelles, bacteria have their work done by the cell membrane. Also, they perform photosynthesis with the help of chlorophyll-a present in them inside the cell membrane.

They are the same in terms of plants for the way they carry out oxygenic photosynthesis. This implies that they both make their food with the help of suing carbon dioxide and using up the light from the sun as their energy. It also uses up water as an electron donor with being able to release oxygen as a byproduct.

The process takes place in several structures. In the plant cells, photosynthesis takes place in chloroplast which is little strictures that have thylakoids and chlorophyll. But, cyanobacteria have no chloroplast where the chlorophyll is inside the thylakoids in the cytoplasm. A theory called the endosymbiosis theory states that cyanobacteria can be evolved as chloroplasts that are possessed by the plant cell.

Read more about Eukaryotic Cells Vs Bacterial Cells

What is the function of Chloroplast in bacteria?

Chloroplasts are likely to capture the light and make sugar. Chloroplast is believed to begin its form from the bacteria that have been engulfed already by the rest of larger cells.

During the process of photosynthesis, in general, the light is gathered and used for the building of sugars from carbon dioxide. The formation of Chloroplast can be very complex compared to the tide.

Thus, the sugar that has been formed shall be used up by plant cells or might also be consumed by rest that feeds on plants like humans.

The energy inside the sugar is kept for harvesting via a process known as cellular respiration taking place in mitochondria. But all this while, as bacteria have no chloroplasts they have chlorophyll within the membrane that helps them with the process of photosynthesis.

This feature is not present in all bacteria but for the blue-green algae class of Bacteria called the Cyanobacteria.

How do bacteria perform photosynthesis without chloroplast?

The concept of photosynthetic bacteria have been found for almost a time longer than the earth’s atmosphere but the mystery behind was unravelled in recent times. The fact mostly lies in converting solar energy onto that chemical energy.

Photosynthesis does occur in Bacteria just like in cyanobacteria and green sulphur bacteria. Despite all the bacteria lacking chloroplasts, the exceptions do perform photosynthesis.

These have the presence of photosynthetic pigments inside the membrane infoldings of the bacteria itself for lacking chloroplast. The blue-green algae have within themselves chlorophyll that helps in carrying out oxygenic photosynthesis in the plants. The rest of the bacteria are noted to perform anoxygenic photosynthesis with not evolving any oxygen like plants. They utilize hydrogen sulfide and have bacteriochlorophyll with more compounds acting as reducing agents.


What is Oxygenic photosynthesis?

This type is where water is used up as an electric donor while generating oxygen during the process of photosynthesis.

What a Photoautotrophic Bacteria?

The several types of bacteria that are capable of making use of sunlight to develop energy which uses up the solar energy to synthesize the inorganic compounds to produce their food.

What is the work of Hydrogen Sulphide in photosynthesis?

It helps in enhancing the process via promoting chloroplast biogenesis, the thiol redox modification and the expression of the photosynthetic enzyme.


I am Ankita Chattopadhyay from Kharagpur. I have completed my B. Tech in Biotechnology from Amity University Kolkata. I am a Subject Matter Expert in Biotechnology. I have been keen in writing articles and also interested in Literature with having my writing published in a Biotech website and a book respectively. Along with these, I am also a Hodophile, a Cinephile and a foodie.

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