Our Latex experiments

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We wondered what the white latex of a Ficus plant would look like under a Foldscope. Here is the experiment in 5 short videos

Video 1/5: Latex in Ficus elongatus.

 

Video 2/5. We spread the latex onto the slide. We had two slides, one in which we really stirred the latex and the other we just dropped the latex.

Video 3/5 Latex under the Foldscope with the LED light source.

Video 4/5 Latex under the Foldscope with a Table lamp as the light source.

Video 5/5 What might happen if we drop some Latex on an ant?

About 14% of tropical plants secrete latex. From sealing breaks in leaves and defending plants from insects and herbivores, to making rubber tires and chewing gum, Latex is an integral part of our modern lives. What might those particles be made of?  Could we compare this across different plant species using a Foldscope.

Happy 4th for those in the US.

Aditi and Laks

-DC Micronauts

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Manu Prakash says:

    Dear @Aditi and @Laks and D.C. micronauts,

    What a wonderful journey of discovery. Just absolutely amazing. I have seen plants bleed all my life; never before did I realize it’s a rubber – and never before did I think about the chewing consequences. A beautiful example of the power of asking simple questions.

    I also love the format of small videos – the tension was building up all the way to the end. Let’s compare latex from many more plants – I will keep my eyes open for bleeding plants. So should everyone in the foldscope community!!

    Cheers
    Manu

  2. laksiyer says:

    @Manu, we have been wanting to look at it for long, didnt think we would see the particles. These are membrane bound, charged and I wonder if one can do more. Been reading this paper on the same.
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005273613003052

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