Mikhail Tsvet, Russian botanist

Mikhail Tsvet, Russian botanist

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Caption: Michel Tsvet (1872-1919), Russian botanist and developer of the technique of chromatography. Tsvet's work involved the study of plant pigments, such as chlorophylls and carotenoids. In 1901 he developed the techniques of adsorption chromatography. He passed solutions of leaf colourants dissolved in a light petrol mix through a column of powdered chalk. The distinct colour bands formed by the different pigments could then be taken from the column and analysed. However, scientists at the time could not replicate his findings, believing that they were erroneous. However, 10 years after his death in 1919, others successfully repeated his results and supported his chromatography method, leading to its revival.

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