Aggregation of chlorophylls in monolayers. V. The effect of water on chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b in mono and multilayer arrays

Camille Chapados, Roger M. Leblanc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The nature of the interactions between water molecules and monolayers and multilayers of chlorophyll a (Chl a), and monolayers and multilayers of Chl b. obtained by the Langmuir-Blodgett technique, is examined by infrared spectroscopy. Following deposition of the monolayer or multilayer of Chl a or Chl b onto a plate, repetitive scans showed some modifications in the infrared spectra which are interpreted as a reorganization of the molecules as some water molecules leave the array. Drying the sample further modifies the spectra, which indicates the departure of more tenacious water molecules. Putting the sample in a moist atmosphere does not restore the original spectrum. This is an indication of a nonreversibie reorganization in the chlorophyll array. The spectra of the monolayer of chlorophyll are much more complicated than those of the multilayer, owing to the nonintegrating effect of the monolayer, which reveals the perturbing effect of the different dielectric milieux on each functional group. On the basis of the analysis of the spectra and the information gathered from the surface pressure isotherms, a model is proposed for the monolayer arrangement at the air/water interface which implies two set of dimers of water per molecule of chlorophyll. One pair of dimers constitutes the water of the first kind and is composed of vapor-like dimers. This kind of water is situated between the porphyrin planes of chlorophyll molecules and is easily removed from the monolayer. The second pair of dimers is composed of water of the second and third kinds situated between the Mg atom of the chlorophyll molecules and the water of the subphase. The second kind of water is closest to the Mg atom and is the most difficult one to remove. The third kind of water is closest to the surface and its mobility is intermediate between that of water of the first kind and that of water of the second kind. Comparing the infrared spectra of a freshly prepared monolayers of Chl a with the resonance Raman spectra of intact chloroplasts (M. Lutz, Biochim. Biophys. Acta 460 (1977) 408), we notice great similarities. This is an indication that the model we propose for the monolayer of Chl a could play an important role in the chloroplast.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-244
Number of pages34
JournalBiophysical Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1983
Externally publishedYes


  • Chlorophyll a
  • Chlorophyll b
  • Infrared specsroscopy
  • Monolayer
  • Multilayer
  • Photosynthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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