Photosynthesis and Chloroplast Experiment Assistance

Jonathan B. Marder MARDER at
Mon Dec 2 11:40:58 EST 1996

In article <961130143412_1421928678 at>,
   CHAigle at wrote:
>I am a 15-year-old high school student and am working on a science project on
>photosynthesis. ...
>I have, I believe, successfully separated chloroplasts from spinach leaves
>using a modified Whatley and Arnon procedure at home.  ...
>My basic problem is determining whether oxygen has been produced.  I have
>tried using a glowing match to see if it flared.

  This is great that you are trying to isolate chloroplasts under home
conditions. I believe that you are quite likely to get active chloroplasts.
However, I think it will be VERY hard to see any production of oxygen the
method you are using. I wouldn't expect isolated chloroplasts to produce
anything like enough oxygen.

In the lab, we typically use an "oxygen electrode" which can pick up
changes in oxygen concentration in seconds. However, there are some older
methods around. One of these was using a "Warburg Manometer" which was
designed to detect small changes in gas volume - probably not useful for you.
However, I suspect that there might be some dye-based oxygen detection systems
you could use either visually or with a spectrophotometer (maybe some one on
this list has details - any takers?).

Good luck!

Jonathan B. Marder             ,      Department of Agricultural Botany
E-mail: MARDER at |      The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Phone: (08 or +9728) 9481918   | /\/  Faculty of Agriculture
Fax:   (08 or +9728) 9467763   |/  \  P.O.Box 12, Rehovot 76100, ISRAEL

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