Chromatography of chlorophyll

The chromatography of chlorophyll is an experiment often carried out at school. An extract from grass was made by grinding up some grass in a pestle and mortar with a 50:50 mixture of propanone and petroleum ether (60-80 Celsius b.p. range).

Pestle and mortar, grass, scissors and solvent.

Pestle and mortar, grass, scissors and solvent.


Fold up for cutting

Fold up for cutting


Careful of those fingers!

Careful of those fingers!


A close cut ...

A close cut …


... saves time when grinding.

… saves time when grinding.


Ground up extract.

Ground up extract.


Capillary action draws up the liquid.

Capillary action draws up the liquid.


Spotting samples on a 5 x 10cm silica TLC plate

Spotting samples on a 5 x 10cm silica TLC plate


Ready for elution

Ready for elution


The solvent system used was a 70:30 mixture of diethyl ether : petroleum ether (bp 60-80).
Away we go

Away we go


End result

End result


Here’s an animation showing another plate running.
Chromatography of chlorophyll

Chromatography of chlorophyll


A video of the experiment can be viewed here

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