FLUORESCENCE ON A BROWN EGGSHELL / PROTOPORPHYRIN IX
NEEDED

     -  Brown Eggshell
     -  conc. sulfuric acid : H2SO4
     -  conc. hydrochloric acid : HCl
     -  UV-light

PROCEDURE

         Two brown eggshell-halfs (e.g. on a petri dish)
     are treated with a few drops of HCl and H2SO4
     respectively. The hydrochloric acid shows
     a severe reaction ("bubbling foam"). The treated
     regions of the eggshell show a bright orange-
     red fluorescence under UV-light.

COMMENTS

         By the addition of strong acid, Proto-
     porphyrin IX (formally called Ooporphyrin) is
     released from the chalky shell.
         Protoporphyrin IX is the immediate precursor
     of Heme - the prosthetic group of Hemoglobin
     (the "red" in the blood).
Protoporphyrin IX                                             Heme
Eggshells treated with H2SO4 (left) and HCl (right) - normal light.
Eggshells treated with H2SO4 (left) and HCl (right) - UV-light.
Extraction of PP IX from crunched
eggshells into 1% sulfuric acid in ethanol.
Fluorescence of PP IX extract.