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Experiment 1: Preparation of biological materials for microscopic examination

Introduction

Cell is the basement in all living things that is capable of integrating the essential life processes. It
is also the basis for the different kinds of tissues found in a single organism. [Cell Biology, Neal O. Thorpe,
1984, page 2] Cell can be in variety shape and size but it is depending on their function. The example of
those cell shapes are rods, spirals, shoe boxes, spheres, daisies on their stalks, snowflakes, string beans and
blobs of jelly In some instances the shape of a cell that is dictated by its surrounding environment; this is
apparently true of the neatly shaped rectangular cell packed in plant and of the spherical floating eggs of
certain marine animals. The shape of other cells are often related to their function. Besides, groups of cells
that possess similar traits are often found together in a places because they contain the common structures
and functions.
Cell is a biological unit which can move, eat, drink, and even reproduce by itself. The cell acts as a
special unit because it formed by a wide range of structure called organelles that regulate what enters and
leaves the cell, produce protein and chemical energy for structure and chemical function, and are involved
in cell reproduction.[Biology, The Spectrum of Life, Peter Aubusson, 1996, page7]
The modern microscope has revealed an astonishing diversity in both the structure and functions of cell.
By carrying this experiment, we can learn how to use microscope to investigate those cell structures and
more understand the world of the cell. Yet, there are many types of microscope. The most common
microscope is the optical microscope which has different magnifications such as 40x, 100x, and 400x.
Usually, some cells can be taken easily from our surrounding area included humans body. Cheek cell is the
best choice because it can be easily obtained. So, we used it as animal cell for this experiment. Meanwhile,
for plant cell, we used potato cell and onion cell.
Aims
To study the structure of cells
To determine and observe the difference between potato cell, animal cell (cheek cell) and plant cell
(onion cell).
To show that different cells have different structures and textures.
To observe and compare the difference between animal cell and cheek cell.

Materials
Small piece of potato, a piece of onion, cheek cell, toothpick, methylene blue solution, iodine solution,
distilled water, filter paper.
Apparatus

Microscope, glass slide, cover slip, dropper, scalpel, forceps, tile


Method
1) Observation on starch grains
1. A potato was cut to obtain a smaller piece of it.

2. That small piece of potato was placed on the center of the glass slide and enough pressure was applied
with fingers to squeeze it until small amount of juice was forced out. The piece of potato was discarded
leaving the juice behind on the glass microscopic slide.
3. A drop of water was added to the potato juice and the the glass slide was covered with a clean cover slip.
4. The slide was examined under low power (10X), then high power (40X). A drawing of 4-6 starch grains
was made to illustrate the shape and other observable details for each, low power (10X) and high power
(40X).
5. The grains was stained using irrigation technique. (Irrigation technique: a drop of iodine was placed at
the opposite edge of the cover slip. As water was absorbed by filter paper, iodine on the other side of the
cover slip will be drawn underneath it and sample will be stained.)
6. The iodine stained mount was examined under low power (10X) and high power (40X). 4-6 starch grains
were drawed to illustrate their shape and structure. Drawings in the microscope data sheet were included in
the result.
2) Observation on onion cells
1. An onion was cut into half and one of its fleshy scale petals was removed.
2. The onion petal was snapped backwards and forceps was used to tear away a piece of thin epidermal
lining form inside the onion. A 1cm square piece of lining was placed onto the microscopic glass slide.
3. A drop of water was placed on the onion epidermal lining and the lining was covered with a cover slip. It
was examined under a microscope at low power (10X) and then high power (40X). A drawing of the
observation was made, including only the details that we had observed and the drawing was labeled
accordingly.
4. The onion lining was stained with iodine by irrigation technique as described earlier.
5. It was examined again under low power (10X) and high power(40X). 4-6 of the onion cells was drawn in
the microscope data sheet as observation. Its parts were labeled completely.

3) Observation of cheek cells


1. A clean glass microscope slide was obtained and a drop of water was placed in the center of the slide.
2. A toothpick was held flat against inner cheek and the inside of cheek was gently scraped with the flat
edge of a toothpick. The cheek cells were spread in the drop of water on a microscopic s;ide.
3. The specimen was covered with a cover slip and air bubbles were avoided.
4. It was observed under high power(40x) and then a drawing of 4-6 cells was made.
5. The details that can be observed in the preparation were included and labeled accordingly.
6. The cheek cell slide was stained with methylene blue by irrigation technique.
7. The cell was drawn, putting in as much structures as we had been able to be observed in the microscope
data sheet as part of the results. Labeling was compulsory for the nucleus, nuclear membrane and cell
membrane.

Results
Onion cells
Iodine solution stained the nuclei brown and the cytoplasm light brown.
The main cell components seen were the cell wall, nucleus, cell membrane,
vacuole, cytoplasm and chloroplasts.

Cheek cells
Methylene blue stained the epithelial cells of the cheek blue, so the cells were
easily seen.
The main components seen were the nucleus, cell membrane and cytoplasm.

Discussion
From the results we obtained after the experiment is that the magnification of the
microscope were in that way of 104, 1010, 1040 and 10100; also known as 40, 100,
400 and also 1000. At first, we used 40 to look our first slide: Starch Grain under the microscope. It
was really clear to say that on the magnification of 40, we can only see the basic layout already, of the cell
which in random circular shapes, while the magnification was on 100, the image was slightly bigger and
clearer while on 400, we can saw the cell wall way more clearly and more detailed.
In the next step of each experiment, we stained our samples in colors by using either iodine solution or
methylene blue solution for all three sample during the second steps of each experiment using irrigation
technique. With the help of the color stained on the cell, it was way more clearer and visible, it was obvious
to see the structure of the cells.
For the first sample, the starch grain from potato, we first noticed that there were a lots of spaces in
between cells and some of the shapes of the cell was round in shape while some were oval shape. Irrigation
method was taken out to stain the starch grain in yellow color with iodine solution.
For the second sample, onion cell. The first thing that we observed under the microscope was that they have
cell walls and they were closely packed in fixed shape; unlike potato cells that were having spaces in
between the cells. With the help of modern science technologies and techniques, we were able to see the
sample clearly and bigger even on 100 magnification. We were able to observe how nicely the cells were
closely packed and distributed in fixed rectangular shape. By staining the onion cells in yellow with iodine
solution by using irrigation method and viewed under the microscope with 400 magnification, we were
able to see the cell membrane and the cell walls even clearer since the color on the sample under the
microscope was getting denser and more contrasted after the cells stained in yellow with iodine solution.
For the third sample, cheek cells that we obtained from one of our group members. Under the microscope
with 40 magnification, we able to observe that cheek cells were having irregular shape. We stained the
sample in blue by using irrigation method again but with blue methylene solution for this experiment. The

blue pigments of methylene blue solution appeared on the cells more denser and gave us the cheek cell a
clear vision under microscope under both 100 and also 400 magnifications. Nuclei and the cell
membrane were visible under the microscope with the methylene blue's dyes.
Based on the observation of the experiment, we can said that there were total difference that can be noticed
on plant cell and animal cell. We observed and drew it on the laboratory report for reference. In short, it
was obvious to see that plant cells have fixed shape while the animal cells have irregular shape and plant
cells have cell wall while animal cells have no cell wall.

Conclusion
In this experiment, we have learnt that animal cells and plant cells do have some similarities. We also have
studied the basic structures of a cell which are cell membrane, cell wall, nucleus and so on. Besides, we
also learnt the correct and proper ways to use and handle a microscope. At magnification of 400 X of a
microscope, we can see the cells clearer compared to magnification of 100 X. In a nutshell, we agree that
animal cells and plant cells have similarities and differences.
Reference

Pg 3-16 , AS Level and A Level Biology (CAMBRIDGE) Second Edition,Marry Jones,


Richard Fosbery , Dennis Taylor, Jennifer Gregory
Pg 2, Cell Biology, Neal O. Thorpe
Pg 22, The Cell: A Molecular Approach , Geoffrey M. Cooper

Pg 51- 54, New Understanding Biology For Advanced Level Fourth Edition, Glenn, Susan
Toole
Pg 7, Biology, The Spectrum of Life, Peter Aubusson
n.a.,
n.a.,
Human
Cheek
Cell
lmb.cam.ac.uk/microscopes4schools/humancheek.php

[online]

http://www2.mrc-