Chromotography with Smarties and Autumn leaves

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Chromotography  is a collective term for a set of laboratory techniques used to separate mixtures. It includes paper chromotography, thin-layer chromotography and gas chromotography. Paper chromotography is used for separating mixtures such as inks and dyes. In our practical experiment, we will use the natural food  dyes used to colour “Smarties”, although the artificial colouring used for “M and M’s” work well too. This is also a great time of year to investigate the pigments in autumn leaves – as chlorophyll breaks down to produce xanthophyll, carotene and anthocyanin. Another experimental method for leaf chromotography here.

Why do some trees have leaves that change colour in the autumn? How is chromotography used by forensic scientists and in industry? Please do some research and post your answers in the comments section below.

7 thoughts on “Chromotography with Smarties and Autumn leaves

  1. Chromatography can be used in pharmacies to separate combined drugs.

  2. paper chromatography can be used to detect different colours, from the results in the filter. Inks in ransom notes can be separated using chromatograghy.

  3. the separation of mixtures into their constituents by preferential adsorption by a solid, as a column of silica (column chromatography) or a strip of filter paper (paper chromatography) or by a gel.

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