Low Temperature Absorption Spectra of Chlorophyll a in Polar and Nonpolar Solvents

S. S. Brody, S. B. Broyde

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Absorption spectra of chlorophyll a were measured in polar and non-polar solvents, as a function of temperature from 298° to 77°K. Both dilute and concentrated solutions were examined. In both types of solvents at room temperature, the absorption spectra of concentrated solutions differ from dilute ones in that the half width of the main red absorption band is greater, and all bands are shifted to longer wavelengths. These differences are largely due to the presence of dimers when the pigment concentration is high. In dilute ethanol solutions, where the chlorophyll is unassociated, cooling causes a red shift in all bands which is due to the increased polarity of the solvent at low temperature. On cooling at high concentrations in ethanol and EPA, a new band appears near 700 nm. This band is attributed to dimers present prior to cooling, but absorbing at shorter wavelengths at room temperature. In nonpolar solvents, a band near 700 nm appears at the solvent freezing point. In these solvents, the “700” nm absorption is attributed to dimers, and/or small polymers, partly formed by cooling. A change in aggregate geometry when the solvent becomes viscous or frozen can account for the appearance of this “700” nm absorption band at low temperature, in polar and nonpolar media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1511-1533
Number of pages23
JournalBiophysical journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1968

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics


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