Ethanol and Chlorophyll
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.
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Update: June 2012