The 2021 Champions of Ashanti Region Renewable Energy Challenge, Gyaama Pensan Senior High/Technical School has recently illustrated the feasibility of the use of a popular local drink ‘sobolo’ as an acid-base indicator.
‘Sobolo’ in parts of Africa is a drink made out of the flowers of the Roselle plant, a variety of Hibiscus. It has numerous health benefits such as lowering cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
The chemistry tutors of the School, Mr. Sampson Adu-Heneampong, Mr. Frank Agyekum and a National Service Person- Mr. Ernest Acheampong along with their group of students outline that although the therapeutic components of ‘sobolo’ help in many health complications, it has another purpose in chemistry. That is, to distinguish between an acid and a base.
They demonstrated the use of the local drink as an indicator solution and as a green and pink paper for identifying unknown acidic and basic solutions in the laboratory as well as determining whether one’s urine is acidic or basic.
According to them, ‘sobolo’ indicator prepared based on their methodology turns acidic solutions to pink and basic solutions to green whilst neutral solutions remain light pink.
They however compared their sobolo infused paper with that of litmus paper. In comparison, the sobolo infused paper turns acidic solutions to pink whilst basic solution turns green unlike Litmus paper which turns acidic solution to red and basic solution to blue – Mr.Frank Agyekum said.
According to the teachers, their Chemistry Department is researching whether the ‘sobolo’ indicator will have the quality in acid-base titrations and other titrimetric methods just like phenolphthalein and methyl orange.
They are also researching the use of ‘sobolo’ as the main liquid ingredient in refillable temporary markers. This development came after they have won the Ashanti Region Renewable energy challenge.