Biology Plant Separation/ Identification

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Separation and Identification of Plant Pigments by Paper Chromatography

Biology 1107L

Introduction

All living organisms require energy for their chemical processes. The ultimate source of this energy is the sun. Plants convert light energy into the chemical energy of sugars. During photosynthesis pigments are used to capture light energy. Pigments of green plants can easily be separated and identified using a technique called paper chromatography. The purpose of this experiment is to separate the pigments using paper chromatography. In this process, various pigments will separate along the chromatography paper depending on polarity of the pigments. The most polar will be in the lowest band on the paper, while the least polar will be in the uppermost band. Using paper chromatography, the pigments that give a plant its color can be separated and observed to determine the value of each pigment and their function during photosynthesis.

Methods

The following materials were obtained to conduct this experiment: a capillary tube, beakers, extractions of leaf pigments in acetone, forceps, scissors, acetone, a quart jar with a lid containing solvent of petroleum ether and acetone and chromatography paper stapled into a cylinder marked with a pencil line about 1cm from one end. An extract of chloroplast pigments where obtained and a blender was used to rupture the cells. Pigments were then extracted with acetone an organic solvent. Then pigment extracts were separated using paper chromatography. Pigment extract was applied to a cylinder of chromatographic paper then the cylinder was placed in a jar with the organic solvents.

Results (drawing)

Conclusion

Paper chromatography proved to be an accurate method of separating and observing the various colors of plant pigments. The pigments dissolved in the solvent and

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