Photosynthesis: Algae pigment analysis

Time to complete course: 20 min.

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About Photosynthesis: Algae pigment analysis Virtual Lab Simulation

This short, targeted simulation is adapted from the full-length “Electron Transport Chain” simulation.

Find out if a dark colored algae can help with biofuel production. In this simulation, you will help Roxy, the lead engineer in an environmental project, find out if a dark colored algae can do photosynthesis using green light. Use the Hill reaction and spectrophotometry to measure electron flow and find out if the pigments in the algae can use green light for photosynthesis.

Introduction to the Hill reaction

How can we measure the energy generated by photosynthesis? The process of photosynthesis uses an electron transport chain. By measuring the electron flow using the Hill reaction we can know the energy produced by photosynthesis. This reaction uses DCPIP, a redox dye, to measure the electron flow. Now we know the theory we can start our experiment!

Prepare the experimental controls

Our handy virtual assistant Dr. One has already extracted pigments from the algae for you! Now, to check out if the pigments can use green light for photosynthesis. In order to properly test your hypothesis, you will need to prepare and measure your sample, as well as positive and negative controls. Look at the absorption spectra from previous experiments to choose the correct wavelength of light for the spectrophotometer to measure your samples.

Measure photosynthesis

By comparing the absorbance 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. Will your hypothesis about the dark algae pigments be correct?

Get Started Now

Help Roxy figure out if a mysterious dark algae is able to do photosynthesis using green light and measure this process with the Hill reaction.

Techniques in Lab

  • Hill reaction
  • Spectrophotometry

Learning Objectives

  • 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
  • Interpret absorption spectra

Simulation Features

Length – 20 minutes
Accessibility mode – Available
Languages – English

Examples of Related Standards


Biology related 1st and 2nd year


No direct alignment


High level content, may support Biology 2.9 Photosynthesis


Supports Biology Unit 2: Cell structure and function

Screenshots of Photosynthesis: Algae pigment analysis Virtual Lab Simulation


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