During photosynthesis a plant absorbs light energy using the pigment chlorophyll. This allows it to convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose. This glucose is:
Therefore, to test if a plant has been photosynthesising, you can test the leaf to see if starch is present.
Iodine solution is used to test leaves for the presence of starch. You need to:
After a few minutes, the parts of the leaf that contain starch turn the iodine from brown to blue/black.
Variegated leaves have green parts (where the cells contain chlorophyll) and white parts (where there is no chlorophyll). Only the parts that were green become blue/black with iodine solution, showing the importance of chlorophyll in photosynthesis. The parts without chlorophyll do not photosynthesise, and so they do not make starch and the iodine does not change colour.
The leaf on the left is a variegated leaf. The green parts contain chlorophyll and photosynthesise to make starch. The white part of the leaf does not contain chlorophyll, so does not photosynthesise.
The leaf on the right shows a positive test for starch in the areas which contained chlorophyll, and a negative test for starch in the areas which lack chlorophyll.
This is evidence that chlorophyll is required for photosynthesis.
A plant can be ‘de-starched’ by leaving it in the dark for a few hours. Parts of its leaves are covered with dark paper, and the plant is left in the light for a few hours. Only the uncovered parts become blue/black with iodine solution, showing the importance of light in photosynthesis.
Ethanol is flammable and so is heated using a hot water bath instead of using a Bunsen burner. Because ethanol boils at 78°C, a tube of it boils when placed in a beaker of hot water.
In this experiment you need to place a leaf in boiling ethanol to decolourise it. Write a risk assessment for this.
|Ethanol is flammable.||It may ignite when heating to boiling point if using a naked flame.||Do not heat over a Bunsen burner. Use a beaker of hot water as a water bath.|