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•  Separation of photosynthetic pigments by chromatograph

Photosynthetic organisms do not rely on a single pigment to absorb light, but instead benefit from the combined action of many

  • These pigments include chlorophylls, xanthophyll and carotenes

Chromatography is an experimental technique by which mixtures can be separated

  • A mixture is dissolved in a fluid (called the mobile phase) and passed through a static material (called the stationary phase)
  • The different components of the mixture travel at different speeds, causing them to separate
  • A retardation factor can then be calculated (Rf value = distance component travels ÷ distance solvent travels)

Two of the most common techniques for separating photosynthetic pigments are:

  • Paper chromatography – uses paper (cellulose) as the stationary bed
  • Thin layer chromatography – uses a thin layer of adsorbent (e.g. silica gel) which runs faster and has better separation

Overview of the Chomatographic Separation of Photosynthetic Pigments