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Name: ______________________

General Biology Lab #5- CAE
Cell and Cell Structure

Introduction

The cell is defined as the biological, anatomical, genetic and physiological unit of living
organisms, thus the basic unit of life. One cell alone has all the characteristics of living
organisms and is able to perform the 7 vital processes of life.

Robert Hooke, in 1665, was the first scientist to identify a cell when observing thin
slices of cork. He observed small chambers that resembled bricks in a wall, and he
called them cells. Nonetheless, according to current knowledge, the cells observed by
Hooke were only cellulose walls. Nowadays the term cell is referred to the living
contents within those chambers.

All living organisms are made of one or more cells (bacteria, fungi, algae, protists and
multicellular organisms). In higher organisms, cells are organized at different degrees,
constituting tissues, organs and highly specialized systems.

Cells can have varied sizes, shapes and functions; it depends on the job they carry out.
However, from the strict point of view of their shape and complexity, cells can be
divided into two main groups: (1) Prokaryotes, and (2) Eukaryotes.

Prokaryote cells basically have the following characteristics:
- Lack a nuclear membrane
- Their genetic material is dispersed within the cytoplasm
- Lack basic organelles such as mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus,
etc.
- Present abundant ribosomes free in the cytoplasm to synthetize proteins

From the structural point of view, eukaryote cells are a lot more complex. Eukaryotes
are characterized by:
- A defined nuclear membrane that effectively separates the nucleus form the
cytoplasm
- The genetic material is contained within the nuclear membrane
- Contain organelles such as mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, lysosomes, etc.

Objectives

- Identify the cell as a fundamental unit of life
- Recognize the structure of cells
- Differentiate between an animal and a plant cell

Materials and Methods

Materials
- Slides
- Cover slips
- File
- Droppers
- Toothpick
- Tweezers
- Color pencils *
- 1 Onion *
- 1 Potato *
Equipment
- Compound
Microscope
- Elodea leaves
- Methylene Blue
- Iodine
- Distilled water
- Prepared slides of
animal cells

* Materials to be brought by the student

Observation of animal cell structures

(a) Human cheek cells
1. Put a drop methylene blue on a slide. Gently scrape the inside of your check in
one direction from the inside to the outside of your mouth with a flat toothpick.
Stir the invisible cells into the drop of iodine on the slide. If you see something
on the toothpick after the scraping, you did something wrong. Since cells are
microscopic, you should not be able to see them.
2. View the cells on low power and move up to high power.
3. Identify the cells and observe their shape, nucleus and the granulated aspect of
the cytoplasm. Note the thickness of the cells where possible.
4. Draw your observations with labels. Always note down the magnification.
5. Measure the size of a cell on high power.














(b) Blood cells – Connective tissue
1. Observation of prpaed slides of blood tissue.
2. Identify the red and white blood cells.
3. Draw your observations with labels. Always note down the magnification.
4. Measure the size a cell of each type on high power.









Magnification ____________________

Cell Size ____________________



Observation of plant cell structures

Typical plant cell

(c) Onion Cells
1. Collect the onion cells by removing the inner lining of an onion with a pair of
tweezers. Do not fold the thin sheet of cells when you place it on the slide.
2. Add one drop of iodine to the cell and wait a couple of minutes before placing
the cover slip over it.
3. View the cells on low power and move up to high power.
4. Identify the polihedral cells, the cell wall, the dense cytoplasm, the nucleus and
the nucleolus (inside the nucleus).
5. Draw your observations with labels. Always note down the magnification.
6. Measure the size of the cell on high power.















Typical plant cell organelles

(d) Chloroplasts in Elodea cells
1. Collect the Elodea cells by placing one leaf on the slide and covering it with a
drop of water and the cover slip. Do not use iodine because it will kill the cell.
2. View the cells on low power and move up to high power.
3. The chloroplasts appear like green spherical corpuscles.
4. Draw your observations with labels. Always note down the magnification.
5. Measure the size of the cell on high power (40x).











Magnification ____________________

Cell Size ____________________


Magnification ____________________

Cell Size ____________________




(e) Amyloplasts in potato cells
1. Gently scrape or cut a very thin slice of potato using a scalpel and put the sample
on the slide. Add a drop of distilled water to the sample and cover it with a
coverslip.
2. View the cells on low power and move up to high power.
3. Remove the slide from the stage and a drop of iodine (lugol) to the side of the
coverslip. Observe the sample with the microscope again.
4. The amyloplasts should appear purple-black.
5. Draw your observations with labels. Always note down the magnification.
6. Measure the size of the cell on high power (40x).

















(f) Chromoplasts in Capsicum pubescens “rocoto”.
1. Gently make a transversal cut of the “rocoto”. Add a drop of water to the sample
to the slide, put the sample in top and cover it with a coverslip.
2. View the cells on low power and move up to high power.
3. The red corpuscles you observe are the chromoplasts.
4. Draw your observations with labels. Always note down the magnification.
5. Measure the size of the cell on high power (40x).














Magnification ____________________

Cell Size ____________________


Magnification ____________________

Cell Size ____________________






Questions

1. What morphological differences can you see between the cells studied?

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2. What structural differences exist between the epithelial cheek cells and the plant
cells?

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3. State the difference between organ, organism, and organelle.

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4. Which of the cell’s organelles are found in all cells and which can only be found in
some type of cell?

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5. What is a chloroplast? A chromoplast? An amylopast?

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