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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The pigments of the algae with special reference to certain orders of the Chlorophyta Palmer, Mildred Ruth


The chlorophyll and carotenoid pigments obtained from a number of algae were studied in gross acetone extracts. A method proposed by Richards and Thompson was used to calculate the relative proportions of chlorophylls a, b, and c, astacin and non-astacin carotenoids present. Complete absorption spectra from 350 mμ to 700 mμ were obtained for several algae, chiefly those belonging to the Chlorophyta. It was found that the presence of chlorophyll b could be detected as a small irregularity in the spectral curve at 460 mμ. The xanthophyll pigments of twenty-eight different species of algae were investigated. Chromatographic columns were used to isolate the individual pigments. A mixture of magnesia (Micron Brand) and Hyflo Super Cel was used as the adsorbent. Ethylene chloride was used as the solvent. Fourteen different xanthophyll pigments were found. Twenty two species of Green Algae were investigated in an attempt to show that the presence or absence of certain pigments may indicate phylogenetic relationships. Individual xanthophyll pigments appear to be of little phylogenetic significance. Groups of these pigments, however, seem to be more significant. Fairly uniform and closely related groups such as the Zygnematales and the Ulvales contain certain characteristic groups of pigments. Less uniform groups such as the Volvocales and the Cladophorales appear to lack characteristic groups of pigments. The results agree fairly well with modern phylogenetic relationships, based on the morphology and methods of reproduction. More extensive work with more genera and species is needed before generalizations at the ordinal level can be made.

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