Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Chlorophyll Uses and Reactions

Gooferking Science - 12-5-2014 at 14:33

I recently extracted a bunch of chlorophyll from leaves and I am unsure what to do with it. I already put it under UV light and watched it glow red. I was thinking about reacting it with bromine. There are a bunch of double bonds where the bromine could do a nucleophilic reaction at. What would the resultant molecule be though? Anyway, I am open to any suggestions of what to do with it.

Texium - 12-5-2014 at 14:35

Whatever you do with it, try to do it fairly soon, as chlorophyll gets nasty, brown, and decayed after a couple days.

smaerd - 12-5-2014 at 17:25

I actually read a pretty interesting Honor's Thesis in the recent past about making a little very temporary solar cell from essentially chlorophyll and a copper plate -

Could be a neat little experiment.

gdflp - 14-5-2014 at 06:33

Looks interesting, but the chlorophyll-ethanol extraction mentioned seems to need a long time. I have had success in the past by extraction with acetone, then using paper chromatography to separate the different components completing the process in an hour. How did you extract yours Gooferking?

Gooferking Science - 14-5-2014 at 11:01

I just used boiling denatured alcohol (ethanol, methanol, methyl isobutyl ketone) as an organic solvent. I used sweet gum leaves which contain a lot of chlorophyll as a source. I made sure to boil the flammable alcohol in a fume hood with an electric heater to ensure no explosions occurred from alcohol vapor. I then filtered the very dark green liquid to remove insoluble materials. I tested for chlorophyll by putting the solution produced under UV light. It glowed dark red, which is characteristic of chlorophyll.

alexleyenda - 14-5-2014 at 15:29

Just in case you didn't know, as you didn't separate the mixture, you also have a good amount of carotenoids, not only chlorophyll. And well, honestly I don't think there is much to do with it, maybe you could just push the experiment on the side of physics and test different wavelenghts to see which one are absorbed and which are not.

Also, it's not an experiment, but it's interesting to realise that as it absorbs UV light and emmits red, it means that all the energy difference from the bottom (red) to the top (blue) of the visible electromagnetic spectrum was absorbed by the the pigment, it is very efficient. That's why it is used by plants to make Adenosine triphosphate, so they can make sugar, so we can live :D And of course, a side product of this process is O2 by hydrolysis of water. The hydrogens from the water being used to reduce the CO2 from the air in hydrocarbon chains (sugars in this case).