Objective of High School Evergreen Science Fair Project
The fall colors we see in trees are hidden throughout the summer by the pigment chlorophyll. But there are other pigments within the leaves that reveal themselves as the chlorophyll breaks down. Those pigments are xanthophylls (yellow), carotenoids (yellow, orange, red), and anthocyanins (red). I wanted to see if these pigments were present in both deciduous and broadleaf evergreens, and if so, which angiosperm—deciduous or broadleaf evergreens—would show a more intense pigmentation.
Materials Used & Experiment
I collected leaf samples throughout San Angelo, identifying their location using GPS. I then crushed them and used Isopropyl alcohol as my solvent to extract the pigment from the leaves. To separate the pigments I used a chromatography technique using coffee filters, drawing paper, and Viva™ paper towels.
The results of my experiment showed that my hypothesis was partially correct. Both deciduous and broadleaf evergreens contained all the pigments, but I believed that it would be the deciduous that contained a higher intensity where as the results showed the broadleaf evergreens did.
The results of my High School Evergreen Science Fair Project lead me to believe that it was possible that because I did my sampling in the fall, there was less pigmentation in the deciduous because it was at the time of year chlorophyll was starting to break down and photosynthesis was slowing down as the deciduous trees were getting ready to lose their leaves and go dormant.
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