Chlorophylls are readily extracted from (soft) leaves into organic
solvent and separated chromatographically into constituent types, most
notably chlorophyll a (Chl a) and chlorophyll b (Chl b).
These two chemical variants of chlorophyll are universal constituents
of wild vascular plants and express highly characteristic absorption
spectra (Figure 1.8). Both chlorophylls show absorption maxima at
wavelengths corresponding to blue and red, but chlorophyll assay in
crude extracts, which inevitably contain carotenoids as well, is
routinely based on absorption maxima in red light to avoid overlap with
these accessory pigments that show strong absorption below 500 nm.
Absorption maxima at 659 and 642 for Chl a and Chl b
respectively would thus serve for assay in diethylether, but these peaks
will shift slightly according to solvent system, and such shifts must
be taken into account for precise measurement