Plant pigments have the ability to absorb seeable visible radiation, which can be used in order to reap energy for photochemical reactions. There are a assortment of pigments present in workss, and for this experiment, these pigments were separated utilizing paper chromatography. Absorbance spectrophotometry was besides used in order to obtain the different optical densities of the pigments. The information was so used to compare comparative chlorophyll content in both old and immature foliages, and to place the pigments present in the foliages. It was seen that chlorophyll a and B were present, and immature foliages yielded more chlorophyll than old foliages as reflected by the high optical density of the immature foliage infusion as compared to the old foliage infusion. The public presentation of this experiment can be deemed successful in dividing pigments, nevertheless designation of the pigment concentration could besides be done to better quantify the sum of pigment in the foliages.


Chromatography is a technique used to divide complex mixtures between a stationary stage and a nomadic stage. ( Craig ) There are several types of chromatography, viz. : gas chromatography, liquid chromatography, ion exchange chromatography, affinity chromatography, surface assimilation chromatography, divider chromatography, and molecular exclusion chromatography. ( Carrier, Bordonaro and Yip ) The construct behind this procedure is that the smaller the affinity a molecule has for the stationary stage, the faster it migrates. The stationary stage varies depending on the type of chromatography used ( Carrier, Bordonaro and Yip ) . Most of the clip, chromatography is used for purification techniques. The procedure is besides used in separation of substances, an illustration of which is works pigments.

The consequence of chromatography is a chromatogram. From the chromatogram, different information about the trial sample can be attained. By numbering the figure of extremums in the chromatogram, one can infer the complexness of the mixture. The more extremums there are, the more complex the mixture is. Besides, qualitative information about the composing of the mixture can be deduced by comparing the peak places with a criterion. Quantitative appraisal of the comparative concentration of the constituents can besides be attained by comparing the peak countries ( Carrier, Bordonaro and Yip ) .

In this experiment, chromatography was used to separate pigments extracted from old and immature foliages. The pigments were farther identified utilizing optical density spectrophotometry.

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For this experiment, photosynthetic pigments were separated through paper chromatography and the soaking up spectra of these were measured through optical density spectrophotometry.

Pigment Extraction

Old and immature foliage samples were obtained around the UP campus. Each set of samples was shredded into smaller pieces and weighed to twenty gms. Using howitzer and stamp, each sample was immersed in 50 milliliter propanone and land exhaustively to to the full pull out the chloroplast pigments. After this, the infusions were filtered by utilizing filter paper and Buchner funnel. The eluted infusions were collected in separate beakers and transferred into separate trial tubing, and labelled consequently as OLD and YOUNG.

Paper Chromatography

The infusion from immature foliages was subjected to paper chromatography. Three pieces of 3cm ten 11cm Whatman no. 42 filter paper were cut out. The sheets of paper were marked 3 centimeter from one terminal, and 2 centimeter from the other. The 3cm-point served as the point where the infusion would be loaded, while the 2cm-point dictates the point of expiration of the chromatogram. This terminal was tied with a twine so that it could easy be suspended on a Gatorade bottle cap.

With a Pasteur pipette, one bead of infusion was loaded on each sheet of the filter paper. To farther saturate the burden, the filter paper sheets were loaded 10 times. However, for each burden, the old topographic point was allowed to dry before an extra bead of infusion was added.

Developing dissolver of crude oil quintessence was prepared. The dissolver was so poured into three Gatorade bottles, make fulling merely up to two centimeters of the bottle. The paper strips were so secured on the bottle caps with tape and hung, with its terminal touching the developing dissolver, but non the loaded infusion.

The development of the chromatogram was terminated after the pigments or the underdeveloped dissolver has reached the 2cm-line. Of the three chromatograms, merely one was presented for the consequences because it has the clearest separation.

Absorbance Spectrophotometry

Absorbance spectrophotometry was besides done to obtain absorbance spectra of the different pigments present in foliages. Both the old and immature foliage infusions were used and the optical densities of infusions were obtained for the undermentioned wavelengths ( nm ) : 400, 450, 470, 500, 550, 600, 647, 650, 663, 700. Two tests were done per foliage sample. The optical densities obtained were so plotted against wavelength.


Pigments are defined as substances in workss that are able to absorb seeable visible radiation. These can be classified into three basic groups. ( University of California – Berkeley, 2006 )

The first are the chlorophylls which are light-green pigments incorporating a porphyrin ring. The ring contains several dual bonds which makes it stable, and at the same clip allows free migration of negatrons. In this manner, when sunshine strikes the works surface, negatrons in the pigment molecules of the chloroplast thylakoid become excited which in bend base on balls on this excitement to the photosystems that begins the series of cellular events that generate O and sugar.

Four species of chlorophyll – a, B, degree Celsius, and d – are known. Chlorophyll a is the primary photosynthetic pigment in all higher workss, algae, and the blue-green algae. Chlorophyll B is found virtually in all higher workss and green algae, differing from the former merely in that a formyl group substitutes for the methyl group in pealing II. Chlorophyll degree Celsius is meanwhile found in the diatoms, dinoflagellates, and brown algae and lacks the phytol tail of chlorophyll a. Lastly, chlorophyll vitamin D is found merely in the ruddy algae and has an ( -O-CHO ) group in topographic point of the ( -CH=CH2 ) group on pealing I of chlorophyll a. ( Taiz and Zeiger, 2008 )

The 2nd category of pigments are the carotenoids. They are normally ruddy, orange, or xanthous pigments composed of two little six-carbon rings connected by a concatenation of C atoms. Their high C content prevents them from fade outing in H2O and as such they must be attached to membranes within the cell. They have several maps, including the widening of the spectrum of colourss able to drive photosynthesis ( particularly in seasons with sawed-off yearss such as autumn and winter ) , and in photoprotection ; they are able to absorb and disperse inordinate visible radiation energy that can otherwise damage chlorophyll or interact with O to bring forth reactive oxidative molecules that can damage the cell. ( Cain, et. Al, 2011 )

The 3rd category of pigments are the phycobilins. They are water-soluble pigments found in the chloroplast stroma or the cell cytol. Happening merely in the Cyanobacteria and Rhodophyta, they are efficient in absorbing light wavelengths that are non good absorbed by chlorophyll a. These pigments are bound to phycobiliproteins which pass on the captive light energy to chloroplasts for photosynthesis.

Knowledge of which types of pigments are present in a works is utile in the field of agribusiness. Using this information, visible radiations that advancing the optimum growing of workss holding certain pigments can be developed, increasing their output. Additionally, pigments extracted from workss can be used as dyes in scientific research.

One manner of finding the pigments present in a works sample is through paper chromatography. Paper chromatography separates pigments present in the works sample based on their solubilities in the dissolver ; compounds which are really soluble move along with the progressing solvent forepart, while less soluble compounds travel easy through the paper, good behind the solvent forepart. Chlorophyll a is somewhat soluble in a 3:1:1 mixture of crude oil quintessence, propanone, and H2O ( which was the resulting mixture used in the survey ) , while carotenoids are really soluble in this system. This difference in solubility should let the separation of chlorophyll a from the carotenoids and chlorophyll B, which is less soluble than chlorophyll a. ( Bowen and Baxter, 1980 )

The undermentioned chromatogram was obtained from the chromatography done in the survey.

chlorophyll B

chlorophyll A


Figure 1. Obtained chromatogram from the paper chromatography of ( immature or old? ) foliage infusions. Merely one test was used in the designation of pigments, with the topmost set determined to be a carotenoid, followed by chlorophyll A and chlorophyll B.

The first pigment set was identified as a carotenoid due to its yellowish-orange colour, the 2nd set identified as chlorophyll A due to its darker green colour, and the 3rd set identified as chlorophyll B due to its yellow-green colour. The survey is said to be a success in this regard as the consequences obtained matched the theoretical consequences.

Additionally, pigments can besides be identified based on the value of their keeping factor ; the keeping factor ( Rf ) is calculated as the distance the pigment travels ( in centimetres ) divided by the distance the dissolver travels ( in centimetres ) . Standard values of the Rf are compared to the deliberate values and the closest standard value that matches the deliberate value is used to place the pigment. This measure nevertheless, was no longer done in the survey.

Figure 2. A graph demoing the optical density obtained from the old and immature foliage extracts through absorbent spectrophotometry.

Spectrophotometry can be utilized for mensurating the chlorophyll content of a foliage by mensurating the optical densities of the works infusion at ruddy and far ruddy parts of the seeable light spectrum. The optical density of the infusion is straight relative to its chlorophyll content. The experiment measured the optical densities of old and immature foliages coming from the same works in order to compare their chlorophyll content. In the experiment, the pigments from old and immature workss were subjected to spectrophotometry to place which wavelength would give the highest soaking up hence placing the pigments present, and besides comparison at which degree of adulthood workss would give more chlorophyll. The former is possible because works pigments take part in photosynthesis by absorbing visible radiation, and there is the optimum wavelength wherein they can absorb the most sum of visible radiation and can therefore heighten the procedure of photosynthesis.

Pigments in seed workss may be present as chlorophyll a, B, and carotenoids, all with changing copiousness. For the old and leaf samples, it can be seen that the mensural optical densities peaked at two wavelengths ( Figure 2 ) . The first extremum is around 450-470 nanometer while the 2nd extremum is about 663 nanometer. This information implies that most of the pigment extracted must be from chlorophyll a and B, since theoretically, these pigments peak at 430-450 nanometer and 640-660 nanometer. It should besides be remembered that extremums in an optical density vs. wavelength pigment spectra means that these pigments absorb and utilize visible radiation best in these wavelengths. In Figure 3 below, the other pigments and matching peak wavelengths can be seen.

Figure 3. Absorption spectra of pigments found in seed workss

Aside from cognizing the pigments present in the foliages, the graph could besides demo the comparative sum of chlorophyll nowadays in the foliages. Theoretically, older leaves contain much more chlorophyll than younger foliages ; this is contrary to the consequences as depicted by Fig. 2. These consequences can merely do sense if the works from which the infusion was taken from has a Mg lack, presuming that no methodological mistake was committed. Plant with Mg lack tend to sequester Mg from old foliages by degrading chlorophyll and so transporting the retrieved Mg to the younger foliages which have higher photosynthetic demands.

Other methods of mensurating the pigment content of foliages include utilizing chlorophyll content metres, which do non necessitate an infusion to be prepared, and the more superior technique known as chlorophyll fluorescence where the ratio of chlorophyll fluorescence at certain wavelengths give a linearly relative appraisal of the chlorophyll content.

Literature Cited

Hopkins, W.G. & A ; Huner, N.P.A. ( 2009 ) . Introduction to works physiology ( 4th erectile dysfunction ) . Ontario, Canada: John Wiley & A ; Sons.

Cain, M. L, Jackson, R.B. , Minorsky, P.V. , Reece, J.B. , Urry, L.A. , & A ; Wasserman, S.A. ( 2011 ) . Campbell biological science ( 9th erectile dysfunction ) . San Francisco, USA: Benjamin/Cummings.

University of California – Berkeley. ( 2006 ) . Photosynthetic pigments. Retrieved from hypertext transfer protocol: // lossary/gloss3/pigments.html on August 23, 2012.

Bowen, W. R. , & A ; Baxter, W. D. ( 1980 ) . Experimental cell biological science: an incorporate research lab usher and text. New York, USA: Macmillan Publishing Co.

Taiz L and Zeiger E. ( 2008 ) . Plant Physiology. 3rd erectile dysfunction. Sinauer Associates, Inc.

Hermans C. ; Vuylsteke F. ; Coppens F.. 2009. Systems Analysis of the responses to long-run Mg lack and Restoration in Arabidopsis thaliana.A New PhytologistA 187: 132-144.

Carrier, Rebecca, Julie Bordonaro and Kevin Yip. Chromatography. 1997. 23 August 2012 Retrieved from: hypertext transfer protocol: // chem-eng/Biotech Environ/CHROMO/chromintro. hypertext markup language.

Craig, Paul A. Chromatography. 2007. 23 August 2012 Retrieved from: hypertext transfer protocol: // webionex/website/html/ione8h o9.html.


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