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The Lord Ruler and Chlorophyll


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Hi guys, this might bore some (most) of you but this is my take on why the plants on Scadrial were turned brown after the Lord Ruler's Ascension. 


So basically, heres a bit of plant biology:


Plants absorb light during the first phase of photosynthesis , converting specific waves lengths into high energy electrons, which are then used to create NADPH, ATP and Oxygen. Some of these molecules are then used in the second phase to make carbon molecules, which we break down into energy. 


However, only specific light waves are used by plants, namely the red, blue, purple and to a lesser degree yellow waves. The green light waves are not absorbed and are actually reflected - the reason why chloroplasts and plant cells containing chloroplasts are in our eyes, green. 


Because of the ash in the sky, plants were not able to get enough light, and thus were unable to survive. To combat this, the Lord Ruler altered many plants to have a new pigment (say chlorophyll-C) which allowed them to absorb green light waves and therefore get more energy - stopping them from dying. 


Thus, green light was no longer reflected by plants and they were brown instead (probably because light absorption isn't 100% effective and so the small resulting meld of colours looked brown to the people of Scadrial - like how paint eventually just turns brown when you mix too many different colours). 


Although this makes sense to me, I'm sure I've overlooked something, and I'm not sure why this would result in plants that were less nutritious to man kind. Maybe because of the ash? I'm pretty sure that at some point Sazed mentions that the plants help breakdown the ash so maybe this made them less nutritious? 


But yeah, there you go, the science behind the brown plants on Scadrial!

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I always assumed it is because all of the ash in the sky likely lowered reduced the level of light. I've always imagined the sky as being a kind of smoky haze all the time.


Also, it could be that they were less nutritious because they had less energy to work with. The sun is described as very red in the books, and since red light has less energy than other forms of visible light plants had to get more light to make the same amount of food.

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