This was done by separating the photosynthetic pigments (chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, carotene and xanthophylls) from one another using paper chromatography.
Our experiment tested which color (red, blue, green) would influence the plant to produce the most amount of photosynthesis. There are four main photosynthetic pigments found in the chloroplast of the plant called chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, xanthophylls, and carotenes. All these pigments absorb light and possibly utilize the light energy in photosynthesis. Light energy is essential for photosynthesis. An initial experiment showed that all the pigments at peak absorbance showed violet/blue light at the highest level, orange/red light as the second highest, and yellow/green having the lowest level of absorption. We hypothesized that photosynthesis was affected by the light absorption rate.
Considering that not all light energy is used for photosynthesis we propose an alternative hypothesis. In a previous experiment the pigment xanthophylls absorbed significant amounts of blue light. In new research it is found that this pigment could be an important component in a process called energy dissipation rather than photosynthesis. In order to not overwhelm the plant with photosynthesis and respiration, this photon energy goes to other functions or formations of the plant. Further research on the function of xanthophylls will need to be conducted in order to understand the processes of plant function.
Protective xanthophylls (absorbing blue and blue/green light at ~440-490nm thereby competing with photopigments chlorophyll , chlorophyll and peridinin) seem to be responsible for the different rates of photosynthesis.