Q.8:- With the help of well-labelled diagrams, describe the process of plasmolysis in plants, giving appropriate examples.
(a) Shrinkage of the protoplast of a cell from its cell wall under the influence of a hypertonic solution is called plasmolysis. Hypertonic solution causes exosmosis or withdrawal of water from cytoplasm and then the central vacuole of cell. The size of cytoplasm as well as central vacuole and hence protoplast becomes reduced. The first stage of plasmolysis is called limiting plasmolysis. At limiting plasmolysis, the pressure potential ( ψp ) is zero and the osmotic concentration of cejl interior is just equivalent to that of external solution (isotonic). The cell is called flaccid. When pressure potential becomes negative, the protoplast withdraws itself from the comers. This stage is known as incipient plasmolysis. At incipient plasmolysis, the cell wall exerts no pressure on the cell contents (i.e. ψp is zero). Hence at this stage ψw = ψs. The hypertonic solution now enters the cell in between the protoplast and the cell wall. Due to continued exosmosis, protoplast shrinks further and withdraws from the cell wall except one or a few points. It is known as evident plasmolysis.
Examples of plasmolysis :
(i) Pickles, meat and fish are preserved by salting. Similarly, jams and jellies are preserved by sweetening with sugars. Salting and sweetening create hypertonic condition in which the fungi and bacteria get killed by plasmolysis.
(ii)Salting kills the weeds of lawns by inducing plasmolysis in their cells.
(iii)Plasmolytic method is applied for the determination of osmotic pressure of a cell in the laboratory.