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Name: nathan
Status: student
Grade: 9-12
Location: CA
Country: N/A
Date: 8/2/2005

why is ethanol used to extract chlorophyll?

Quite simply, because chlorophyll is soluble in ethanol, while many other molecules in leaves are not very soluble in ethanol. Chlorophyll is a highly nonpolar molecule, which means that it is soluble in nonpolar solvents. Ethanol is fairly nonpolar, and it works pretty well. Many other solvents work just as well or better. Petroleum ether, acetone, and hexane (or mixtures of these) are also used very commonly for chlorophyll extractions. However, ethanol is less expensive than these solvents and it works adequately for crude work. Ethanol is also a bit safer to handle, though you still have to be careful with it.

Christopher Perkins

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