Featured in PASCO’s College Biology Instructor Guide

College Biology Instructor Guide


College Instructor edition with 26 experiments covering introductory and general biology topics.

Pigments & Photosynthesis

Lab Summary

Use a colorimeter to determine the rate of photosynthesis in a suspension of chloroplasts.


Students learn how to separate plant pigments using paper chromatography and how to measure the rate of photosynthesis in chloroplast suspensions.


Students gain experience conducting the following procedures:

  • Separating plant pigments based on their solubility using paper chromatography.
  • Determining the rate of photosynthesis in a suspension of chloroplasts using a colorimeter and the reduction of 2,6-dichlorophenolindophenol (DPIP).

Sensors / Equipment Used:

PASPORT Colorimeter Sensor


Our PASPORT Colorimeter records all 4 wavelengths simultaneously--no need to guess at wavelength to get a quality measurement.

Materials Used:

#1 Whatman Chromatography paper - 10 to 12 cm
0.1 M phosphate buffer - 4 mL
Chloroplast suspension - 2 mL
Chromatography solvent - 5 mL
Cuvettes (with colorimeter) - 5
Distilled water - 13 mL
DPIP in small amber bottle - 3 mL
Floodlight, 100 watt 
Glass jar, 10-12 cm tall 
Graduated disposable pipet 1-mL - 2
Heat sink (large beaker or flask filled with water)
Ice and water - 1 L
Lint-free tissue 
Roll of aluminum foil - 1 per class
Spinach - 1 leaf

The Associated Bundle:

College Biology Bundle


A complete probeware bundle designed for PASCO's College Biology curriculum

Interface Required

This experiment may require software and an interface for data collection.