I took the Qubit Systems PS package out of the
box and had it running right away. Training graduate and undergraduate
TA's has been successful as well. And even if, for some people, the
learning curve is steep, the data are so good that it is worth the effort.
We tried counting bubbles from Elodea, floating leaf disks, even Warburg
apparatus with Chlorella suspension (and I once made a Haxo/Blinks
oxygen electrode and had to drive from Cornell to Boston to get enough sea
water for it - before the days of artificial seawater), and none of these
approaches were satisfactory.
For a low technology investigation I second the chloroplast pigment topic.
Thin-layer chromatograms (silica gel) give superb separation. We have had
success determining the Chl a to b ratio for "sun" and "shade" plant
leaves, and looking for species unity and diversity in carotenoids.
A fume hood is recommended. The solvent for TLC can be provided upon
Robert C. Hodson
Department of Biological Sciences
University of Delaware
Newark, DE 19716