Testing The Strength Of Plant Fibers

2809 words - 11 pages

Title: Testing the strength of plant fibers

Objectives:
To develop knowledge and understanding of the strength of plant fiber in a plant stem.
To develop problem solving and experimental skills, for example, information is accurately processed, using calculations where appropriate, experimental procedures are planned, designed and evaluated properly, the use of microscopes, producing valid results and recording results.
To develop techniques of measuring the size of plant fibers under microscope using stage micrometer and eyepiece graticule.
Introduction:
Pumpkin plant
Pumpkin is of the genus Cucurbita and family Cucurbitaceae . Pumpkins are grown all around the world for a variety of reasons ranging from agricultural purposes to commercial and ornamental sales. Furthermore, the fruit is popularly harvested for consumption. The colors of the pumpkins are derived from the orange pigment abundant in them. The main nutrients of pumpkin are both alpha and beta carotene. Beta carotene generates vitamin A in the body. The plant grows in vines that spread low across the ground, with large leaves and yellow-orange flowers.
Plant fibres
Plant fibres consist of vascular tissues and the sclerenchyma fibres. Mature sclerenchyma cells are dead cells that have walls heavily thickened with lignin. There are two main types of sclerenchyma cells: fibres and sclereids. Fibres are elongated cells whose long, tapering ends interlock, to provide support to a plant. They can be found almost anywhere in the plant body, especially in the stem. Plant fibre contributes greatly to the strength of the plant stem. Some examples of naturally occurring fibres include are cotton, hemp, and jute. The vegetable fibres are based on the arrangement of cellulose with lignin. Plant fibres are used in the manufacture of paper and textile and dietary fibre is an important component in human nutrition.

Internal structure of a stem

Source: http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/P/plant_stem.html
Mature sclerenchyma cells are dead and have thickened secondary cell walls impregnated with lignin. It is elastic. The cell cavity or lumen is very small or may disappear completely. There are two types of sclerenchyma cells. They are sclereids and fibres. Sclereid cells are irregular in shape, thick, hard, and lignified. Sclereids are commonly found in fruit and seeds. Fibres have tapering ends, thick walls and rather small lumen. Secondary cell wall impregnated with lignin are also present. Simple pits are also present. It is abundant in vascular tissue of angiosperm such as flowering plants. Sclerenchyma is important in supporting tissues in plants. Sclereids account for the hardness in seeds of the plant. Fibre plays a role in transporting water in the plants.
Xylem is located in the middle section of the of a plant stem. It can be found close with other transport tissues in plants such as phloem –which transports sugars and amino acids in the plant. In...

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