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Biology Laboratory Manual, 6/e
Darrell S. Vodopich, Baylor University
Randy Moore, University of Minnesota--Minneapolis

The Importance of Spectrophotometry

Spectrophotometry is a technique that allows scientists to identify substances without ever having to actually touch them. A substance can be in a sealed glass container and still be identified as long as light is able to shine through it. This is particularly useful for substances that may be dangerous or highly toxic. Also, spectrophotometry is useful for identifying gases, which must be kept in sealed containers.

Spectrophotometry is used in a variety of scientific research projects and bioassays. As shown in the absorption spectra of chlorophyll a and b in the exercise in the lab manual, spectrophotometry is used to discern between the various pigments found in plant cells. In medical technology, spectrophotometry is used to determine the seriousness of a heart attack by taking an enzyme from the blood of a patient and comparing it to a standard curve.