Exploring the Potential for Using Inexpensive Natural Reagents Extracted from Plants to Teach Chemical Analysis

Supaporn Kradtrap-Hartwell, Xavier University - Cincinnati


A number of scientific articles report on the use of natural extracts from plants as chemical reagents, where the main objective is to present the scientific applications of those natural plant extracts. The author suggests that natural reagents extracted from plants can be used as alternative low cost tools in teaching chemical analysis, especially in school laboratories that have to operate within a tight budget. This article is presented in two parts, the first section being a review of the recent publications on using plant extracts as reagents for various chemical analyses, and the second section offers a perspective on the use of natural extract from plants in chemical education, especially focusing on teaching chemical analysis at the high school and undergraduate levels. A variety of topics are described that can be taught when using plant extracts in addition to the topics normally covered when using synthetic chemicals. Guidance on selection of an appropriate plant extract and sample is provided. By using plant extracts, the concept of green analytical chemistry can be introduced into the teaching/learning experience. This not only helps students to be aware of the natural availability of chemicals around them, but also leads to some useful and sustainable low cost analytical chemistry research.