Applying Spectrophotometric Evaluation to Chlorophyll Pigments to Reap Health Benefits

Another New Year is underway and once again I have resolved to eat healthier. Green vegetables still take center stage when it comes to high levels of chlorophyll pigments, which boast many health benefits, and I continue to look for new ways to add these healthy nutrients to my diet. However, I can only eat so much raw spinach and kale before I feel my inner rabbit start to retreat. The good news is that chlorophyll pigments are now available in supplement form and can be easily quantified for potency and quality purposes using a simple spectrophotometric method of evaluation.

green leafy vegetables spectrophotometric
Chlorophyll pigments are found in a variety of green leafy vegetable and chlorophyll supplements are also beginning to take precedence as another way to increase the intake of these healthy antioxidants.
Image Source: Flickr user Aaron Stidwell

The Proven Benefits of Chlorophyll Pigments

Although many people already know that by increasing the intake of green leafy vegetables supports a healthy body, many are unaware that the concentration of chlorophyll pigmentation is a direct measurement of benefits you will receive. A deep rich green color indicates higher levels of this beneficial dietary supplement which has been proven to host a wide range of benefits which include “essential vitamins and nutrients needed for cardiovascular, muscular, and neural health.”1

samples spectrophotometric
Chlorophyll pigments are measured according to the color saturation of the sample. A deeper green color indicates a higher level of these essential nutrients.
Image Source: Flickr user Georgios Liakopoulos

The ability to measure chlorophyll pigments and concentration levels is essential for creating a supplemental variety of products that can boost the levels of this nutrient. For example, many food scientists and experts are looking at the color saturation levels in extra virgin olive oils (EVVOs) as a way to improve the quality of these food products. Spectrophotometric determination is essential in this process because it provides a way to quantify these levels and add a measurement of truth the claims made on these products. The ability to provide a numerical value to these calculations allows manufacturers to promote their products and increase prices based on this information.

The Challenges and Strategies of Accurate Measurement

The analysis of chlorophyll pigments can be easily attained through the use of spectrophotometric instrumentation. Spectrophotometers utilize a light absorption and reflection as a means of calculating the saturation levels in various samples. Chlorophyll is extracted from plant matter as an organic solvent and potency is measured using the absorption properties of organic substances with spectral analysis. These absorption levels can accurately determine the concentration of chlorophyll pigments in the extraction sample and quantify this information using numerical data. This process is relatively simple and easily repeatable for accurate results.

However, the spectral properties of many substances can change when the interference of other molecular substance are present in a sample. Therefore, understanding the wavelength patterns in spectrophotometric measurement systems is essential when developing an accurate method of evaluation. Although chlorophyll pigments absorb light at a consistent rate, there are many other compounds that can also absorb wavelength at similar rates, causing interference in the quantification of pigment levels.2 By understanding the principles of absorption and reflection measurements at both ends of the color spectrum, accurate quantifications can be achieved.

leaf spectrophotometric
Color intensity and saturation correlate directly with the levels of chlorophyll pigments in samples. Through the use of color absorption measurement, extraction samples are easily quantified for supplemental purposes.
Image Source: Flickr user Anderson Mancini

Advanced Spectrophotometric Technology Is the Answer

With much advancement in the field of spectrophotometric technology, more and more industries are using this instrumentation to quantify saturation levels and create standards for a variety of products. The measurement of chlorophyll pigments has applications in both the chemical and food industries, and spectrophotometers play an active role in both industries. HunterLab is a leading name in numerous areas of spectrophotometric technology and our instrumentation is highly versatile to allow for a variety of applications to be achieved with just one simple tool. We offer many options and our friendly and knowledgeable staff is ready to assist you in identifying your needs. For more information on spectrophotometers and the many purposes the serve, please contact HunterLab today.

  1. “10 Amazing Benefits of Chlorophyll,” January 4, 2014, http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/10-amazing-benefits-of-chlorophyll/
  2. “Spectrophotometry,” http://www.southernmatters.com/BSC_3402L/J–Use_of_Spectrophotometer.pdf

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