plasmolysis in potato cells

mclaugh at mclaugh at
Tue Jan 30 12:17:31 EST 1996

Have you tried using phase contrast and/or Nomarski DIC on unstained
sections of live potato tissue?  It might work.

>In Plant Phys this week the lab is on water relations.  I use the
>classic cylinders of potato tissue in a range of sucrose solutions to measure
>water potential, but I also have them estimate osmotic potential by observing
>incipient plasmolysis in the same solutions.  Half of the groups use potato and
>the other half uses beets which, as I understand it, store sucrose instead of
>starch, have a much lower osmotic potential, and thus a higher pressure
>potential.  With beets it is easy to observe incipient plasmolysis, but they're
>having trouble seeing it in the potato tissue.  We tried neutral red but it
>seems to stain the cell walls rather than be taken up by the cells.  Does
>anyone know how to stain (white) potatoes to see plasmolysis? 

Esther G. McLaughlin
Associate Professor and Chair
Biology Dept.
Augsburg College
2211 Riverside Ave.
Minneapolis MN 55454 USA
FAX: 612/330-1649

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