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Leaves of plants primarily contain different types of pigments within their tissues.

To distinguish and study the various pigments present in plants through the process of paper chromatography.

Plants carry out the process of photosynthesis, during which light energy from the sun is converted into chemical energy (food). The capturing of light energy is carried out by molecules known as pigments, which are present within the plant cells.

Pigments are chemical compounds, which are able to reflect only a particular range of wavelengths of visible light. Leaves of plants primarily contain different types of pigments within their tissues. The four different types of pigments are listed below in a tabular column along with their colours.

In order to view and distinguish the primary four plant pigments, a simple technique known as chromatography can be used.

It is a technique that is used to distinguish between different molecules. This differentiation is based on these attributes-shape, size, charge, mass, adsorption and solubility.

In this technique, the interaction between three components is involved – solid phase, separation of a mixture and a solvent.

The dried paper strip displays four different bands. Discrete pigments can be distinguished with the help of colours.

Q.1. What Rf value or Retention factor?

A.1. The Retention factor or Rf value applies to chromatography to make the technique scientific. It is defined as the distance travelled by the compound divided by the distance travelled by the solvent.

Rf value = Distance travelled by the compound / Distance travelled by the solvent.

A.2. Phycobilins are light-capturing bilins found in chloroplast organelles, cyanobacteria and in a few algae.

Q.3. What is the significance of pigment in photosynthesis?

A.3. It helps in the absorption of energy from light. The free electrons in the pigments present in their chemical structure transfer their energy to other molecules during photosynthesis when they turn into high energy electrons, thereby liberating energy they captured from light. This released energy is then used up by other molecules for the formation of sugars and related nutrients with the use of water and carbon dioxide.

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