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ERIC Number: EJ1133556
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Feb
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Demonstrating the Effect of Surfactant on Water Retention of Waxy Leaf Surfaces
Chiu, Yu-Chun; Jenks, Matthew A.; Richards-Babb, Michelle; Ratclif, Betsy B.; Juvik, John A.; Ku, Kang-Mo
Journal of Chemical Education, v94 n2 p230-234 Feb 2017
We report here the development of an inexpensive and engaging laboratory-based activity that can help students learn about the scientific method and the role of plant epicuticular waxes and surfactant function on waxy plant leaves as real life example in the agricultural industry. Three each of nontreated collard leaves ("Brassica oleraceae" L. Acephala group) and brushed-leaves were sprayed with water to demonstrate hydrophobicity of epicuticular waxes. Another set of three nontreated collard leaves was sprayed with Tween 20 containing water to demonstrate function of surfactant. Then, water retention rate was calculated by subtracting between before and after spray treatments. Water contact angles were measured by ImageJ software from nontreated and brushed-leaves from pictures taken by students' smartphones. This lab activity provides a foundation for instruction on the importance of the plant epicuticular waxes that is the outermost hydrophobic barrier in agrochemical applications and the function of surfactant on waxy leaf surface.
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: West Virginia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A