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Grana vs. Thylakoid — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on December 9, 2023
Grana are stacks of thylakoids in chloroplasts, while thylakoids are flattened sacs inside chloroplasts where photosynthesis occurs.
Grana vs. Thylakoid — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Grana and Thylakoid

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Key Differences

Grana and thylakoids are both vital components of chloroplasts, the sites of photosynthesis in plant cells. Grana are essentially collections of thylakoids stacked together, resembling stacks of coins. Each of the "coins" in this stack is a thylakoid. The stacking of thylakoids into Grana aids in maximizing the amount of photosynthetic activity that can take place within the chloroplast.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 09, 2023
Thylakoids, on the other hand, are individual flattened sacs, and their internal spaces are filled with a lumen. These structures contain pigments, including chlorophyll, that capture light energy and convert it into chemical energy. It's within the thylakoid membranes that the initial stages of photosynthesis occur. Specifically, the light-dependent reactions of photosynthesis take place in the thylakoid membranes, which harness light energy to produce ATP and NADPH.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 09, 2023
In contrast, Grana are not merely structural entities but serve to increase efficiency. By stacking thylakoids into Grana, plants can increase the surface area for photosynthesis without increasing the volume of the chloroplast significantly. This compact arrangement ensures that a maximum number of thylakoids can be accommodated, allowing for optimal light capture and energy production.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 09, 2023
While Grana are made up of thylakoids, it's also crucial to understand that not all thylakoids are part of Grana. Some thylakoids, called stroma thylakoids or intergranal thylakoids, connect Grana and run perpendicular to the Grana stacks. These bridge-like structures maintain connectivity between different Grana within the chloroplast.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 09, 2023

Comparison Chart

Structural Configuration

Stacks of thylakoids
Individual flattened sacs
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 09, 2023
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Function

Increase surface area for photosynthesis
Site of light-dependent reactions of photosynthesis
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 09, 2023

Contents

Multiple thylakoids
Pigments like chlorophyll
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 09, 2023

Location

Inside chloroplasts
Inside chloroplasts, forming Grana or stroma thylakoids
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Dec 09, 2023

Relation to Photosynthesis

Enhance efficiency of photosynthesis
Directly facilitate the light reactions
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 09, 2023

Compare with Definitions

Grana

Collections of coin-like structures enhancing photosynthesis.
Light microscopy shows the distinct appearance of Grana within chloroplasts.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 24, 2023

Thylakoid

Flattened sacs inside chloroplasts containing photosynthetic pigments.
Chlorophyll, crucial for capturing sunlight, is found in the thylakoid membranes.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 24, 2023

Grana

Organized assemblies of thylakoid membranes.
Grana contain the thylakoid membranes where chlorophyll resides.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 24, 2023

Thylakoid

Membranous structures stacked to form Grana.
Each layer in a granum is an individual thylakoid.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 24, 2023

Grana

Stacks of thylakoids found in chloroplasts.
The Grana in chloroplasts are essential for efficient photosynthesis.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 24, 2023

Thylakoid

Sites of the light-dependent reactions of photosynthesis.
The thylakoid is where sunlight is first converted into chemical energy.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 24, 2023

Grana

Arrangements maximizing the photosynthetic surface area.
The compact nature of Grana optimizes light capture in plant cells.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 24, 2023

Thylakoid

Containers of the lumen space in chloroplasts.
Protons accumulate inside the thylakoid during photosynthesis.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 24, 2023

Grana

Pillars of light-dependent reactions in photosynthesis.
Without Grana, plants would not efficiently convert sunlight into energy.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 24, 2023

Thylakoid

Components either stacked as Grana or connecting them as stroma thylakoids.
Not all thylakoids are part of Grana; some connect these stacks.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 24, 2023

Grana

Plural of granum.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 19, 2023

Thylakoid

A saclike membrane in the chloroplasts of plant cells that is often arranged in stacks called grana and that is the site of the light reactions of photosynthesis.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 19, 2023

Grana

Plural of granum
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 19, 2023

Thylakoid

(biology) a folded membrane within plant chloroplasts from which grana are made, used in photosynthesis
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 19, 2023

Common Curiosities

What are Grana?

Grana are stacks of thylakoids found in chloroplasts.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 09, 2023

Where can we find chlorophyll in chloroplasts?

Chlorophyll is located within the thylakoid membranes.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 09, 2023

What is the role of a thylakoid?

Thylakoids are sites of the light-dependent reactions in photosynthesis.
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Dec 09, 2023

How do Grana benefit photosynthesis?

By stacking thylakoids, Grana increase the surface area for photosynthesis, enhancing efficiency.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 09, 2023

Why are Grana stacked?

The stacking maximizes photosynthetic surface area without greatly increasing chloroplast volume.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 09, 2023

Are all thylakoids part of Grana?

No, while many form Grana, others connect these stacks and are called stroma thylakoids.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 09, 2023

Are Grana exclusive to plants?

No, Grana are also found in algae and some other photosynthetic organisms.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 09, 2023

Do thylakoids exist independently?

No, they are always part of chloroplasts and can be stacked as Grana or connect them.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 09, 2023

What's the relationship between Grana and thylakoid?

Grana are made up of stacks of thylakoids.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 09, 2023

Can Grana function without thylakoids?

No, Grana are essentially stacks of thylakoids.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 09, 2023

What's inside a thylakoid?

The interior of a thylakoid is called the lumen.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 09, 2023

Do all photosynthetic organisms have Grana?

No, not all photosynthetic organisms have Grana, but many do.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 09, 2023

How does the structure of thylakoids aid photosynthesis?

Their membranous structure contains pigments like chlorophyll that capture sunlight.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 09, 2023

Where do the light-independent reactions of photosynthesis occur?

Not in thylakoids or Grana, but in the stroma of the chloroplast.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 09, 2023

Are thylakoids only found in Grana?

No, while many thylakoids form Grana, others connect these stacks or exist between them.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 09, 2023

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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