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Stomata microscopy with nail varnish - (Nov/19/2013 )

Hi all,

I just joined this forum, because I need some advice on microscopy of stomata. I am designing a set of experiments for a student's course . One of these experiments contains measurement of stomata width connected with different light regimes. I wanted to use the "nail varnish technique". My preferred plant for this experiment is Cyclamen.

1) It takes some minutes until the varnish is hardened. Is it possible that in the "open" time the opening or closing of the stoma in respect to the light factors continues?

2) I am wondering if nail varnish (or it's solvent) has a physiological effect on the stoma, i.e. can nail varnish initiate the opening or closing of the stoma? My varnish does not visually destroy the cells, there are no brwown spots or similar.


Thanks for answering,




Don't know about the time factor, but the more common solvents in nail varnish are butyl acetate and ethyl acetate.  As these are esters, they may have some biological function, but I doubt it will have to do with stomata opening/closing.


The classical technique is performed with collodion (nitrocellulose in etOH/ether saturated solution) and dries really fast.


If you are worried about any toxicity effects try a water-based varnish (not nail polish/varnish). PVA glue can work too.

-El Crazy Xabi-