Paper chromatography

Don Holeman, could you use Paper chromatography to identify and measure rosacyanin pigments in mauve roses?


could you use Paper chromatography to identify and measure rosacyanin pigments in mauve roses?

In principle it can be done but since no protocol has been published for the purpose it would take a lot of work to come up with one. It would no doubt be expensive and time consuming even if someone handed you a protocol that was practical for the home laboratory.

A much more practical method for the amateur hybrizer would be to try reflectance spectroscopy. The two rosacyanins identified in roses have absorbtion maxima (therefore, reflectance minima) at 585 nm. The obvious approach would be to use Lady X, Lavande, Blue Moon, Seiryu, Sterling Silver and possibly Grey Pearl as known standards.

Of course, you don’t need anything more than your eyeball to be able to breed for blue roses whether you are fishing for high levels of rosacyanins or for some other blue pigment. Pigments are quantitative traits. Intensive interbreeding among the mauves to generate high numbers of progeny will turn up a few outlayers that are more blue than either parent - good old classical breeding.

A case in point is pelargonin. At the beginning of the 20th century pelargonin occured only at low levels in roses, and not at all in most. Rosacyanin has been on the same trajectory as pelargonin since Sterling Silver came out in 1957.

The advantage that reflectance spectroscopy would offer is to provide a way to pick out rosacyanins where they were masked by the presence of other pigments. Thus, it could be a useful selection tool for breeding for any particular pigment.

Thanks Don.


So would something like this work?

So would something like this work?

Not directly but it could be made to work by adapting it into the tube of my handy-dandy-do-it-yourself reflectance spectrometer. In fact, good quality prisms would be better than a holographic diffraction grating (less light loss), but they are hard to come by.