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Photosynthesis (Team 1)

Page history last edited by Rohit Rustagi 10 years, 8 months ago

A.  Learning Objectives

In this lab, students will:

• use a spectroscope to observe the component wavelengths of white light.

• determine which wavelengths are absorbed or transmitted by filters and plant

pigments.

• determine under which conditions a plant leaf produces starch or utilizes starch stores.

• determine which pigments are most efficient in supporting photosynthesis

 

B. Textbook Correlation: 

Please review Chapter 8: Photosynthesis when preparing for the lab.

 

C.  Introduction

Write a three paragraph introduction to photsysnthesis.

In paragraph 1 discuss the difference between autotrophs and heterotrophs.  Give examples of each.

 

Within the biosphere, organisms can be categorized into two different groups: heterotrophs and autotrophs. Heterotrophs have to consume food, organic molecules from the environment, in order to survive. All animals and fungi, and some species of bacteria and protists are heterotrophs. Then there are autotrophs. Autotrophs are able to survive by creating organic molecules like glucose from inorganic molecules: carbon dioxide and water. A type of autotroph is a photoautotroph. These organisms use light as the source of energy to build up organic molecules. These organisms include anything that is green and contains chloroplasts: the light harvesting organelle. 

 

A specific example is well shown in this picture. The plant is the autotroph (photoautotroph) and uses light to create the organic materials, which then the zebra eats. The zebra and lion are the heterotrophs because they have to ingest other organisms in order to get their nutrient, while the plant creates it from the sun.

 

In paragraph 2, summarize the process of photosynthesis.  Include the major chemical reaction (reactants and products) and the change in free energy.  Discuss the different wavelengths of visible light, photons, and the different quantity of energy associated with the individual wavelengths of light.  Include an images/animations about the individual wavelengths of visible light.

 

Photosynthesis is the process in which plant use light energy to help drive synthesis of glucose, the primary 'food' of the plant. The overall equation for photosynthesis is 6CO2 + 6H2O + Energy --> C6H12O6 + 6O2. Essentially, carbon dioxide and water are transformed into glucose and oxygen. There are two major steps in photosynthesis. First we have our light reactions. In this, light excites pigments in photo-system 2, with absorption of 680 nm, and this sends electrons down the electron transport chain (ETC). As the electrons move down, they pass several peripheral proteins, and they reach photo-system 1, which has pigments of 700 nm absorption. Along the way, as electrons move down, H+ ions are pumped in to establish a concentration gradient to make ATP simultaneously. In the end of the ETC, NADP+ accepts electrons to become NADPH, to be used in the second part of photosynthesis: the Calvin cycle. The Calvin cycle does not require light, so it is also called the dark reactions, and this is where g3p is made, which will then form together to make glucose. This process require the NADPH and the ATP made earlier, so it has to come after the light reactions. Essentially, the carbon dioxide bins with RuBP, and makes 6 3 carbon structures, and carbons are removed and added until g3p is made. The change in free energy in photosynthesis is 686kcal/mol,  so it is an endergonic reaction, and requires a lot of energy input to occur. When light strikes the pigments in the photo-systems with 680 and 700 nm absorption, they take in photons of different energies. As the wavelength increases,  energy decreases, so the 680 nm wavelength has more energy. As seen in the chart of wavelengths, both of these wavelengths are in visible light.



 

In paragraph 3, summarize the light-dependent and light-independent reactions of photosynthesis.  In your summary, include cellular location, discuss the role of pigments and excitable electrons in the reaction.  Also, discuss the energy intermediates that link the two processes and how a delay in either the light-dependent or the light-independent reactions affects the other set of reactions.  Include a useful image/animation for both the light-dependent and light-independent reactions.

THe light dependent reactions occur in the thylakoid lumen. in photosystem I, the pigment molecules gain energy from light, and when that energy is transfered by resonance energy transfer to p700, p700 loses an electron, which is moved to NADP+ reductase, which reduces NADP+ once it receives 2 electrons. Then, the electron from photosystem II, which came from the p680 molecule, is transfered through a series of steps to photosystem I to recharge it, and this also pumps an H+ ion into the cell, which is used by ATP synthase to create ATP. Photosystem I oxidizes water in order to regain its lost electrons. At the end of these light reactions, ATP and NADPH are created. These are used in the calvin cycle, or light independent reactions, which occur in the stroma. 6 C02 are added to 6RuBP, which dissociate to 12 three carbon molecules. A series of phosphorylation and reduction reactions form G3P(which uses 12 ATP and 12 NADPH), and 2 of these leave the cycle. They can be readily made into glucose.the other 4 G3P are made back into RuBP by using 6 more ATP. Since more ATP are used than NADPH, there is a second pathway for the light reactions, where photosystem II isnt used, water isnt oxidized, and NADPH isnt made. The electron from PS I is sent in a cycle where its energy is used to pump H+ into the thylakoid lumen, and then it gains energy again in PSI. This pathway is called cyclic electron flow, and the previous pathway is called noncyclic electron flow. If the light dependent reactions dont work, then there wont be enough NADPH produced to continue the Calvin cycle, and if the Calvin Cycle isnt working, then there wont be enough NADP+ to reduce in the light reactions.

a absic energy diagram for the Light dependent reactions
1 half of the calvin cycle, douple the inputs and outputs

     

In the following series of exercises, you will learn how to use a spectroscope to view the different wavelengths composing white light, investigate how leaves kept in light and dark store and utilize glucose, study chloroplast structure, and investigate how Elodea leaves fix carbon.

 

D.  Light Absorption by Photosynthetic Pigments

Colored substances can either absorb particular wavelengths of light or reflect them. Wavelengths that are absorbed are taken up by the colored substance and therefore are not available for our eyes to detect them. On the other hand, wavelengths that are reflected by a colored surface are the ones that can enter our eyes and strike the retina. These are the colors that we see.  A filter absorbs a particular wavelength of light and transmits (allows to pass through) the rest.  This is important because plants must contain pigment molecules capable of absorbing light waves in order to use the energy they contain for photosynthesis.

 

In this exercise you will use a spectroscope to observe the component wavelengths of white light and then determine which wavelengths are absorbed or transmitted by filters and plant pigments such as chlorophyll.

 

Procedure

1. A spectroscope uses a prism to separate white light into its component wavelengths. This spectrum can be observed along with a scale indicating the wavelength associated with each color.

 

2. Use colored pencils to construct the spectrum of white light you observe using the spectroscope.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Now place a red filter over the spectroscope slit.

 

Which colors do you observe in the spectroscope? ______________________________

 

Which colors were absorbed by the filter? _____________________________________

 

4. Repeat using the blue and green filter.

 

Colors observed with the blue filter. _________________________________________

 

Colors absorbed by the blue filter. ___________________________________________

 

Colors observed with the green filter. ________________________________________

 

Colors absorbed by the green filter. __________________________________________

 

5. Now hold a test tube of plant pigment extract in front of the spectroscope. Some of the light waves will be reflected, giving the extract the color you perceive. Other wavelengths will be absorbed by the pigments. These are the wavelengths that will pass into the spectroscope where you can observe them. These are also the wavelengths available to the plant cells for photosynthesis.

 

6. Observe the spectrum in the spectroscope and record the colors and wavelengths you observe.

 

7. What difference do you note between the spectra produced by a green filter and by the plant extract?   Is green really the color of photosynthesis as is commonly characterized?  If not, explain your answer.   

 

E.  Requirement of Light for Starch Production

As noted in the introduction, plants produce glucose, using some immediately for cellular respiration and storing the rest as starch. This exercise will  measure the requirement for light energy in the production of starch.  We will work with Germanium leaves that have a small section covered so that light can not strike it. In this exercise you will remove all the pigments from these leaves and test each for the presence of starch.

 

Predictions

Before conducting this exercise, test your understanding of photosynthesis by predicting if starch will be present:

a) in an uncovered light-grown leaf

b) in a covered light-grown leaf

c) in an uncovered dark-grown leaf

d) in a covered dark-grown leaf

 

Procedure

1. Place the water beaker on the hot plate and bring to a boil.

2. After the water has boiled, place 150 mL of 95% ethanol onto the hot plate. The boiling point for ethanol if much lower than that of water, so it will come to a boil quickly.

3. Take the light-grown leaf, remove its covering and place it in the boiling water for one minute. This kills the plant cells and breaks open its membranes.

4. Remove the leaf from the boiling water using the tweezers and place it in the boiling ethanol. This removes the pigments from the leaf. Leave it in the ethanol until the leaf turns white.

5. Remove the leaf from the ethanol and return it to it’s the petri dish filled with water.

6.  Place the leaf into the pertri dish with iodine (Lugol’s solution).  This stain reacts with starch to produce an intense dark blue-black color. Allow the leaves to soak in the Lugol’s solution for 2-3 minutes.

7.  Return the leaf to the water dish. Use the tweezers to spread it out flat.

8.  Observe the staining pattern for the leaf. Draw what you observe in Figure 4 and answer the following questions.

 

 

 

 

 

   

Questions

1. When a section of the leaf stains blue-black, what does that mean?

 

 

2. When a section of the leaf fails to stain blue-black, what does that mean?

 

 

3. Is there a difference in the staining of the covered vs. uncovered sections? Explain why.

 

 

 

F.  Measuring the Efficiency of Different Pigments in Absorbing Light
Pigments of a leaf act as solar panels.  They absorb sunlight and convert that energy to the chemical energy of ATP and NADPH.  Some pigments are more efficient than others in supporting photosynthesis.   The main photosynthetic pigment is called chlorophyll and provides the green color observed in many leaves.  There are other leaf pigments, like carotenoids (yellow) and anthocyanin (pink) found in the leaves of the ornamental Coleus plant.  The goal of this experiment is to determine the efficiency of the different pigments in supporting the process of photosynthesis.

 

Procedure:

1.  Remove a leaf from the Coleus plant.  Sketch the distribution of colors within the leaf and note the pigment responsible.

 

 

   

        

                  Coleus leaf with intact pigment                                       Coleus leaf after staining with iodine

 

2. Place the water beaker on the hot plate and bring to a boil.

3. After the water has boiled, place 150 mL of 95% ethanol onto the hot plate. The boiling point for ethanol if much lower than that of water, so it will come to a boil quickly.

4. Take the Coleus leaf, remove its covering and place it in the boiling water for one minute. This kills the plant cells and breaks open its membranes.

5.  Remove the leaf from the boiling water using the tweezers and place it in the boiling ethanol. This removes the pigments from the leaf. Leave it in the ethanol until the leaf turns white.

6.   Remove the leaf from the ethanol and return it to it’s the petri dish filled with water.

7.  Place the leaf into the pertri dish with iodine (Lugol’s solution).  This stain reacts with starch to produce an intense dark blue-black color. Allow the leaves to soak in the Lugol’s solution for 2-3 minutes.

8.  Return the leaf to its dish the water dish. Use the tweezers to spread it out flat.

9.  Observe the staining pattern of each for the leaf. Draw what you observe and answer the following questions.


Questions:

1.  Which pigment was most efficient in supporting photosynthesis?  Explain.

 

 

 

2.  Which pigment was least efficient in supporting photosynthesis?  Explain.

 

 

 

   

G.  Post-Lab Questions

1. In order for photosynthesis to occur the following must be present (hint: review the photosynthesis equation):

a. ________________________________ as the energy source.

b. ________________________________ as the carbon source.

c. ________________________________ as the electron donor.

d. ________________________________ for the absorption of light energy.

 

2. Explain why grow lights for house plants are never green.

 

    

 

3. Explain why plants that have been kept in the dark for a week will still be able to conduct cellular respiration.

 

 

 

 

 

4. As you saw from your chromatogram, there are more pigments present in leaves than you can see. Propose an explanation for why leaves only appear green in the growing season, but turn bright colors in the autumn when the weather turns cold.

 

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