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The Probert Encyclopaedia of Science & Technology

BICARBONATE INDICATOR

A bicarbonate indicator is a PH indicator sensitive enough to show a colour change as the concentration of the gas carbon dioxide increases. The indicator is used in photosynthesis and respiration experiments to find out whether carbon dioxide is being liberated. The initial red colour changes to yellow as the pH becomes more acidic. Carbon dioxide, even in the concentrations found in exhaled air, will dissolve in the indicator to form a weak solution of carbonic acid, which will lower the pH and therefore give the characteristic colour change.
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