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Electron Transport Chain: A rollercoaster ride that produces energy | Virtual Lab

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Higher Education
High School
 
Electron Transport Chain: A rollercoaster ride that produces energy
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About This Simulation

Help a group of engineers figure out if a mysterious dark alga is able to do photosynthesis using green light and measure this process with the Hill reaction. If it is, your work will help create a sustainable plan that will use sunlight and pollution sources for biofuel production.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the importance and uses of photosynthesis
  • Understand the photolysis of water and electron transport
  • Understand properties of light and why pigments are colorful
  • Develop a hypothesis and set up an experiment to test it
  • Understand how to measure the redox potential of the electron transport chain

About This Simulation

Level:
Higher Education
High School
Length:
43
Min
Accessibility Mode:
Available
Languages:
English
German
Spanish
French
Italian

Lab Techniques

  • Hill reaction
  • Centrifugation
  • Spectrophotometry
No lab techniques are listed for this simulation.

Related Standards

University:
NGSS:
  • HS-ETS1-1, HS-ETS1-2, HS-ETS1-3, HS-ETS1-4, HS-LS1-5, HS-LS2-3
AP:
  • Biology Unit 3: Cellular Energetics
  • Biology Unit 3.5
  • Biology Unit 3.4
LB:
  • 8.2 Cell respiration
No lab techniques are listed for this simulation.

Learn More About This Simulation

In the Electron Transport Chain simulation, you’ll meet Roxy, the lead engineer for a project in north Alaska. Here, environmental protection has been made a priority. With VR, you will fly over the ocean on a journey to discover that the most problematic facilities are the coal power plant and the fish farm, which are causing glacier melting and eutrophication. But fear not, Roxy has come up with a brilliant idea to produce biofuel from algae using the excess of nutrients from the fish farm and the heat and CO2 from the coal plant. When scuba diving, she found some mysterious dark algae and now she needs your help to figure out if the algae can use green light to perform photosynthesis.

Use the Hill reaction and spectrophotometry

Most plants are green, so they reflect this colour and absorb other wavelengths, which they use for photosynthesis. However, green is a major component of the visible light spectrum, so combining algae that use green light with algae that use other wavelengths maximises the use of sunlight. In this simulation, you will use the Hill reaction and spectrophotometry to measure electron flow and find out if the pigments can use green light for photosynthesis.

Look inside a chloroplast

To understand how photosynthesis works, you will shrink to a tiny size and see what happens during the electron transport chain. You will be able to click on the different molecules to see electrons and protons moving, water molecules splitting and the ATP synthase spinning around to pump protons and produce ATP.

Don’t forget your controls!

Dr. One has already extracted pigments for you. It can be very handy to have a virtual assistant! Now, to check out if the pigments can use green light, you will set up an experiment. In order to properly test your hypothesis, you will need to prepare and measure your sample, as well as positive and negative controls.

Measure photosynthesis

The Hill reaction uses DCPIP, a redox dye, which helps measure the electron flow from photosystem II. By comparing the absorption spectra of your pigment sample exposed to green light only in the spectrophotometer to those of the controls, you will be able to figure out if the dark algae are able to perform photosynthesis using green light or not.

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