Chromatography Investigation

Here is my chromatography investigation!

Title: Using chromatography to identify pigments in green leaves and non-green leaves

Purpose: To analyze color bands created by chromatography to compare pigments within green and non green leaves in order to see what pigments are able to move further across chromatography paper..

Background: Plants use photosynthesis to produce sugars that the plants can use for energy to grow and to perform photosynthesis. Photosynthesis requires light energy in the form of photons to be absorbed by pigments. Certain pigments reflect some light wavelengths and absorb others, and the absorption of these light photons excites electrons and allows photosynthesis to happen. One pigment that appears in many organisms that perform photosynthesis is chlorophyll, which absorbs all light colors except green, which is reflected. Chromatography is a method used to separate compounds in a mixture by putting samples of a mixture on a strip of paper and putting one end of the paper in a solution. The solution travels up the paper strip because of diffusion. Some pigments in the mixture are more attracted to the solution than the paper and so travel up the paper with the solution. Some pigments are more attracted to the paper and don’t travel with the solution. Chromatography separates the pigments from each other and allows the pigments in the mixture to be identified to compare their Rf values. 

Hypothesis: If samples from a green leaf and a yellow leaf on chromatography paper are placed in an acetone solution, then the ratio of distance traveled by chlorophyll to the distance that the solute traveled will be higher than the ratio of the distance traveled by any other pigment to the distance the solute traveled. 

Data: 

Rf of pigment in green leaf: 0.94

7.4-1.4/7.8-1.4 = 6.0/6.4 = 0.94

Rf of pigment in yellow leaf: 0.98

6.8-1.5/6.9-1.5 = 5.3/5.4 = 0.98

Questions:

1. What is the basic importance of chromatography?

The importance of chromatography is to be able to identify different compounds within a mixture.

2. What factors allow chromatography to happen?

Chromatography is possible because of the different electronegativities of the compounds in the mixture. Each compound is attracted to the solvent and paper in varying levels, allowing the compounds to separate as the solvent moves through the paper by diffusion. 

3. What purpose does the chromatography paper have in this experiment?

In this experiment, the chromatography paper shows how far different pigments in leaves travel and shows the separation of the pigments. The paper gives a space for the solvent to travel and displays the different pigments as they separate. Since some pigments are more attracted to the paper than the solvent, the paper keeps those pigments in place.

4. What is the purpose of the solvent?

In this experiment, the purpose of the solvent is to move up the chromatography paper by diffusion and move pigments that are attracted to the solvent up the paper.

5. What does Rf value stand for?

The Rf value is the ratio of distance traveled by a substance to the distance traveled by the solvent. 

6. How do you think that the Rf value is useful to scientists?

The Rf value can be used to identify what compounds are separated from a mixture in chromatography. Scientists can compare Rf values to determine the identity of a compound.

7. What does Dunknown signify?

Dunknown signifies the distance that the solute or mixture traveled from the original marking on the chromatography paper.

8. What does Dsolvent signify?

Dsolvent signifies the distance that the solvent traveled from the original marking on the chromatography paper. 

9. How many pigments were you able to identify from the GREEN leaf chromatogram (Include a picture)?

Only one pigment could be identified from the green leaf chromatogram. 

10. How did a green leaf chromatogram compare to a non-green leaf chromatogram?

The green leaf chromatogram had very clear and visible bands of green pigment, while the non-green leaf chromatogram had more faint bands of yellow pigment.

11. What else did you find out about pigments and photosynthesis?

Different pigments absorb different colors of light. Chlorophyll absorbs red and blue light while reflecting green light. Therefore, chlorophyll is efficient in absorbing light to get energy for photosynthesis, because it absorbs two wavelengths of light.

12. What is one more question you have?

How much more or less efficient are other pigments than chlorophyll in absorbing light energy?

FLOW

(Flow).

Water is a necessity of life. Water is essential for the survival of the entire planet, of all life forms, from the biggest whale to the smallest ant. Unfortunately, large corporations learned long ago that people will pay most anything for access to drinkable water. Companies such as Coca Cola or Nestle will take a town’s water, pollute their lakes, and then sell them their own water for $1.99, $2.45, or even $6.00. A substance that is so crucial for life should not be an industry controlled by those interested only in profit, yet somehow water has become just that.

The movie Flow: For Love of Water addresses some of the problems presented by the water industry. A fundamental problem with the production of bottled water is that often times, bottled water is nearly the same as tap water, containing the same chemicals and bacteria as water straight out of a faucet. In addition, water bottling facilities are hugely detrimental to the communities they invade. In Michigan, Nestle pumped over 450 gallons out of streams every minute, depleting citizens’ own water supply. In a small town in India, Coca Cola dirtied the water sources with toxic waste and then handed out that waste under the guise of it being fertilizer.

Dams and reservoirs stop the flow of organic matter, causing biotic and abiotic factors that usually live in rivers to come to a standstill. These factors begin to rot, producing methane gas. Not only that, but the construction of infrastructure over bodies of water displaces millions. In the twentieth century alone, between 40 and 80 million people were displaced for the building of dams.

The only solution to preventing large corporations from continuing to corrupt water sources and take advantage of a life sustaining substance is to enact local solutions. Local community protests are an example of a solution that works in the people’s best interest instead of the interest of a company interested only in profit. Today, water crises are happening all over the world. Flint, Michigan is currently fighting for clean water, and water is an ever growing industry. FLOW continues to advocate for clean water everywhere and empowers communities to protect their water. You can learn more about their cause here!

Works Cited

“Flow: For Love of Water.” IMDb, IMDb.com, 15 Dec. 2011, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1149583/.

A Plastic Ocean

(“A Plastic Ocean”)

A simple journey to complete a lifelong dream. This is how the movie A Plastic Ocean begins, following Craig Leeson, whose aspirations since childhood had always been to film blue whales. Instead of finding these majestic mammals swimming in crystal clear oceans, however, Leeson discovers unsettling amounts of plastic waste floating atop the ocean surface.

(Ocean)

This discovery led to a deeper investigation into the origin of the ocean’s pollution and the effects on the environment and the organisms living in the ocean. Upon taking a closer look, Leeson uncovered a staggering world of microplastics and their harmful effects on birds, fish, whales, and humans. He found out that plastic waste did not only affect wildlife, but toxins from the pollution seeped their way through the food chain and could be found in the food that arrived on our tables.

While disturbing, this information should not be surprising. With the inconceivable amount of plastic being produced every minute globally, we should have anticipated that we would feel the effects somehow. So now the attention must be turned to the burning question of how to stop this plastic infection from spreading further. It is important to do our small part in lessening our own amount of waste by reducing, reusing, and recycling, with the most important step of those three being reducing. We must cut down dramatically the sheer mass of plastic we consume, and with the plastic we do use we must do our best to limit the amount that ends up in landfills, and, consequently, oceans. In addition, governments have to be held accountable for a lack of regulations designed to restrict the amount of waste large corporations produce and hold them accountable for the damage they do to the environment. You can learn more about A Plastic Ocean at their website: http://www.aplasticocean.movie/.

Works Cited

“A Plastic Ocean – The Movie.” A Plastic Ocean – The Movie, 2016, http://www.aplasticocean.movie/.

Ocean, A Plastic, director. A Plastic Ocean Official Trailer. YouTube, YouTube, 2 Feb. 2016, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zrn4-FfbXw.

The Vortex Swim

As a class, we have been following Ben Lecomte’s journey since he first attempted the Longest Swim in 2018, attempting to swim from the coast of Japan to the shores of Hawaii. Unfortunately, the Longest Swim had to be cut short due to typhoons and the danger to the crew’s safety. Now, two years later, we are anticipating Lecomte’s arrival in San Francisco from his latest expedition: the Vortex Swim.

(Icebreaker)

The purpose of this swim from Hawaii to California is to raise awareness about the massive amount of garbage floating in the ocean known as the Pacific Garbage Patch. He planned to swim 300 nautical miles, directly through the millions of tons of plastic debris in the water. His arrival is scheduled for Saturday, August 31 in San Francisco. Swimming eight hours a day consistently since June 14, Lecomte and his team have been collecting data and water samples throughout their trip, counting and reporting the amount of waste and plastic they find as they travel.

(Munoz)

I find Ben Lecomte’s project incredibly inspiring. I love seeing how hard he works and pushes himself to raise awareness and work on an issue he cares about. I really hope that he will inspire others to take action to undo the damage we have done to our planet. I am excited to see the information we can find out from the data he and his team collected on their trip and to see what we can do with that information. I am curious to find out about what kinds of plastics were the most common in the Pacific Garbage Patch and how we can prevent more of those plastics from getting into the ocean. If you want to read Ben’s logbook from his swim, you can read it here: benlecomte.com/logbook/#filter=article–crew–log.

Works Cited

Icebreaker, director. The Vortex Swim – One Man, One Mission: Ben Lecomte | EN. YouTube, YouTube, 28 May 2019, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35Uo7Nd03XQ.

Munoz, Josh. “Ben Lecomte with Plastic Crate.” The Vortex Swim, 2019, benlecomte.com/day-57-58-in-a-fog-of-microplastic/.

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