Biology Students Learn About Photosynthesis
Posted on 01/23/2015
This week in Biology, students have been learning about the cellular process of photosynthesis and the importance of chlorophyll and other plant pigments in absorbing energy from sunlight. To demonstrate the variety of pigments in leaves, students crushed leaves of spinach and common house plants and used paper chromatography to separate the pigments. The process involves using acetone as a solvent to dissolve the pigments, and the capillary action of fluid traveling up the filter paper to create bands of different pigments based on the size of the pigment molecules. The distance the pigment traveled helped students to identify some of the most common pigments in plant leaves. In spinach leaves we were able to identify the following pigments: carotene (orange-yellow band at the top), xanthophyll (lighter yellow band), chlorophyll a (bluish-green), and chlorophyll b (olive green). The time lapse video of the process was recorded by sophomore Preston Stuhr.