SMART MICROSCOPE SLIDE: Bamboo Stem Sample (English)

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Bamboo Stem Stained Slice


Bamboos are evergreen perennial flowering plants in the subfamily Bambusoideae of the grass family Poaceae. The word "bamboo" comes from the Dutch or Portuguese languages, which probably borrowed it from Malay. Circling the globe, there are more than over 1400 species of bamboo growing in the warmer climates. Giant Bamboos  are the largest member of the grass family.

This slide specimen of the cells of a bamboo stem appears blue because of the Methelyne Blue stain used to highlight the individual polygon-shaped cells structure against the background. Noted for their amazing compression strength, bamboo is more resilient than wood, concrete, or bricks. It's tensile strength rivals steel. Of course this all begins at the cellular level. 

Visible with modest magnification under a biological microscope, the individual cells of a thin cross-section of bamboo are fascinating to observe. This stained microscope slide easily reveals why bamboo is so strong- with the internal ultrastructure, including secondary walls, the pectin bonding agent between the cells, and the cell cavity in the center of the cells. 

The uses of bamboo are extremely diverse: it's shoots are edible when prepared properly; it is used to make charcoal and biofuel; due to its strength it is a building material; a popular material used in kitchenware; bamboo can be made into textiles and writing surfaces, and even the writing instrument itself. 

Thanks to their rhizome-dependent system, Bamboos are some of the fastest-growing plants in the world, with certain species of bamboo growing up to 910 mm (36 in) within a 24-hour period. 


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