Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology
Innovative Uses

Tips and Tricks for Success with Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis and respiration of plants are fundamental concepts in biology and agricultural science. Our CO2 and O2 Gas Sensors make it easy for your students to study these concepts, producing beautiful data as shown here. However, you can’t just place one leaf in a chamber with a light bulb and expect great results. Our resident biologists have revisited this experiment recently to provide you with the following tips and tricks for consistently good results.

Photosynthesis of Spinach Leaves graph
Photosynthesis of Spinach Leaves setup
  • Use fresh, turgid spinach leaves that are free of preservative sprays. Using plant tissue that is old or using outdoor plants that have slowed down for the winter will not work well.
  • Store leaves in a cooler until the time they are used.
  • Use the BioChamber 2000 as the sample chamber, and fully line the bottom with leaves to maximize surface area. Some overlap of leaf edges is acceptable, but avoid stacking them. The O2 Gas Sensor needs plenty of leaf surface area to register a change in oxygen concentration.
  • Use a 12-inch fluorescent ring lamp for maximum light in the photosynthetically active radiation (par) wavelength range, but with minimal heat emission. insufficient light and/or excessive heat can contribute to poor results.
  • Be patient. Plants require a several minute lag time shifting between photosynthesis and respiration.

By following these suggestions, you and your students should get good results every time.

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Where can I buy the light source for the recommended photosynthesis setup?

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