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BIOLOGY LAB

COMPARING PLANT AND ANIMAL CELLS


INTRODUCTION:
Cells are the basic functional units of all living organisms. They may exist singly or in aggregates.
When cells oin together to ta!e to ta!e on a s"eciali#e$ function %ithin a larger organism& they form a
tissue.
There are t%o maor $ivisions into %hich all cells fall' prokaryotic (organi#e$ nucleus absent) an$
eukaryotic (organi#e$ nucleus "resent). Bacteria ma!e u" the former $ivision %hile the cells of
"lants& animals& fungi& "roto#oa& an$ algae com"ose the latter.
Animal an$ "lant cells share characteristics& %hich you %ill observe in this lab. They also $iffer in
several im"ortant %ays. Both animal an$ "lant cells may occur unicellularly or %ithin ulticellular
or!aniss. Because they often ta!e on s"ecial functions %ithin tissues& animal cells are fre*uently
more s"eciali#e$ than "lant cells. Epit"elial (+,-uh-T.++-lee-ul) cells an$ bloo$ cells are exam"les
of $ifferent tissues.
In this lab& you %ill loo! at e"ithelial cells in both "lants an$ animals. +"ithelial cells form the s!in of
the bo$y surfaces an$ the linings of the inner surfaces. These cells are s"eciali#e$ for trans"ortation
of substances an$ "rotection. The in$ivi$ual cells of these layers may be sha"e$ li!e cubes& columns&
or be flat& $e"en$ing on their location an$ function.
MATERIALS:
Com"oun$ microsco"e
/icrosco"e sli$es
Cover sli"s
0orce"s (t%ee#ers)
1ingle-e$ge$ ra#or bla$e
0lat-e$ge$ tooth"ic!s
,a"er to%el
Io$ine solution
2/ethyl-green stain
Onion
1"rigs of +lo$ea
,ictures of ty"ical "lant an$ animal cells from a textboo! for reference
2You can get a goo$ substitute stain at the "et store. +ither the green or the blue tro"ical fish
me$icine %or!s great as a stain.
PRE#LA$ PREPARATION:
,lace a bea!er of %ater %ith the +lo$ea in it& un$er a strong light source about %& inutes before the
lab.
PROCEDURE:
Part ': Plant Cells
Onion bulbs are organi#e$ tissue that& un$er the a""ro"riate con$itions& %ill give rise to an entire
"lant. The curve$ "ieces that fla!e a%ay from a slice of onion are calle$ scales. On the un$ersi$e of
each scale is a thin membrane calle$ the epi(eris.
3. Obtain a "iece of onion an$ remove one of the scales from it. 4se force"s to "ull a%ay the
e"i$ermis from the inner surface. Be careful not to %rin!le the membrane. ,lace a $ro" of %ater on
the center of a microsco"e sli$e& cut a "iece of membrane about &)* c s*uare %ith a single-e$ge$
ra#or bla$e. CAUTION: +an(le t"e ra,or -la(e .it" care. 4sing a tooth"ic! to straighten out any
%rin!les& "lace the membrane sam"le in the $ro" of %ater. Ta!e a cover sli"& an$ carefully "lace it
over the sam"le& lo%ering it at an angle to the sli$e. This hel"s !ee" air from being tra""e$ un$er the
cover sli". You have ust ma$e a .et ount.
5. +xamine the e"i$ermis first %ith the me$ium "o%er obective of your microsco"e. 4nstaine$
s"ecimens are often seen better %ith less light. Try re$ucing the illumination by a$usting the
$ia"hragm of the microsco"e. Then examine it un$er high "o%er.
/uestion ') .o% many layers thic! is the e"i$ermis6
/uestion 0) What is the general sha"e of a ty"ical cell6
7. To stain your s"ecimen& remove your sli$e from the microsco"e stage. ,lace a $ro" of io$ine on
the si$e of the cover sli"& touching its e$ge. CAUTION: io(ine is to1ic) 8ra% the %ater from
un$erneath the cover sli" %ith a scra" of "a"er to%el "lace$ e$ge to the o""osite si$e of the cover
sli" from the io$ine $ro". The stain %ill be $ra%n un$er the cover sli" to re"lace the %ater that the
"a"er to%el scra" absorbs.
9. ,lace the sli$e bac! on the microsco"e stage an$ observe as before. The io$ine %ill stain the
nucleus so it can be seen more clearly.
/uestion %) What $oes the nucleus loo! li!e un$er me$ium an$ high "o%er6
/uestion 2) Within an in$ivi$ual cell& %here are the cyto"lasm an$ the nucleus foun$6 What
general characteristic of "lant cells can be inferre$ from observations of the cyto"lasm an$
nucleus6
/uestion *) /a!e a $iagram of several cells as observe$ un$er high "o%er. Label the
follo%ing structures in one cell' nucleus3 cell .all3 central 4acuole3 cytoplas.
:. Obtain a single leaf of Elo(ea (from the young leaves at the ti") an$ "re"are a %et mount as you
$i$ before. You may %ant to use only a small "ortion of the leaf ti"& so it %ill lay flat on the sli$e.
/uestion 5) What $oes +lo$ea loo! li!e un$er mi$$le "o%er6
;. +xamine the chloro"lasts un$er high "o%er.
/uestion 6) What $oes a single chloro"last loo! li!e6
/uestion 7) Are the chloro"lasts moving or stationary6 /a!e an inference to ex"lain this.
/uestion 8) In %hat %ays are the cells of onion e"i$ermas an$ +lo$ea similar6 8ifferent6
/uestion '&) What observable characteristics can be use$ as evi$ence for classifying a
s"ecimen as a "lant6 4se information from your textboo! to hel" you %ith this *uestion.
Part 0: Anial Cells
<. ,re"are a sli$e of e"ithelial cells from your oral cavity& by the follo%ing "roce$ure. Ta!e a flat
tooth"ic! (a NE9 one) an$ using the large en$& scra"e the insi$e of your chee! 7 or 9 times. Gently
ma!e a smear in the center of a clean sli$e& about the si#e of a $ime. Carefully "lace ' (rop of
methyl-green stain on the center of the smear. ,lace a cover sli" over the $ro" of stain.
=. +xamine the cells& first un$er mi$$le "o%er& then un$er high "o%er. At first& the fiel$ of vie% %ill be
light blue an$ the cells %ill be a slightly $ar!er blue. After a fe% minutes& the fiel$ %ill lighten an$ the
cells %ill become slightly "ur"le.
/uestion '') Insi$e the mouth& these cells are oine$ together in a sheet. Why are they
scattere$ here6
/uestion '0) .o% are these animal cells $ifferent from the "lant cells you observe$6
/uestion '%) 8ra% a fe% cells an$ label the cell e-rane3 nucleus3 an$ cytoplas.