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photosynthesis lab

David Kirschtel kirschte at msu.edu
Mon Mar 13 11:21:42 EST 2000

Monique Reed wrote:
> Back during the Carboniferous when I had plant physiology, I remember
> being impressed with the chlorophyll extraction lab.  We used some
> ungodly organic solvents (including ether--wheeee!) to extract
> chlorophyll from spinach.  Then we put a cuvette-ful into a
> spectrophotometer to look at where the light absorbtion peaks were.
> Sure enough, red and blue!

A variation on this is to separate the pigments with paper
chromatography. You should be able to see distinct bands for chla chlb
xanthophyll and carotene. You can simply end it right there or cut the
pigment bands out and resuspend the individual pigments and run them
individually in the spectrophotometer. Doing this lab in the fall is
really nice because you can repeat this over several week while the
leaves "change color". A class data set is available at:


      David Kirschtel * kirschte at pilot.msu.edu * 517.432.0898
    112 N Kedzie Lab * Mich State Univ * E Lansing, MI * 48824

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