Osmosis and Water Potential

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Osmosis and Water Potential

Year 11

Emary Venter

INTRODUCTION:
The cell is the basic unit of living things, and is made up of multiple organelles. Organelles are membrane bound subdivisions, each specialised for a specific function. This experiment looks at the Plasma Membrane, which is a semipermeable layer surrounding the cell. It’s primary job is to control what goes in and out of the cell. Molecules can move across this membrane in either an active movement or a passive movement. Active being that which requires energy and only occurs when molecules are required to move against the concentration gradient. The concentration gradient refers to the difference in the amount of solutes in the solutions of two adjacent
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The solutions of 2% and 10% both reached dynamic equilibrium as neither had lost nor gained water during the experiment, This indicates that the results may have been inconclusive because two, widely various solutions could not have both reached dynamic equilibrium with the potato cell. This leads to the idea that there were a few errors made while performing this experiment, which most likely had an effect on the results, causing them to be non-reliable. Firstly, the test tubes had not been properly cleaned before the experiment took place. This caused a strange smell and a colouration of the potato tuber, it may also have increased or decreased the osmotic potential, though this cannot be known as it is not known what chemical residue may have been left in the test tubes. Secondly, the potato cells had been left in for three days instead of the recommended 24hrs. This mistake may have caused the soft, sogginess of the potato which rendered it difficult to pat dry and handle. During this part of the experiment, pieces of the cells were broken and lost down drains or stuck to the paper towel, as well as many still containing much excess water. Because of this, the weights measured could be inaccurate and therefor unreliable. Based on the data found by Clemson University Student Robert.
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