The Effect of Different Strength of Salt Solutions on Potato Cells Through Osmosis

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The Effect of Different Strength of Salt Solutions on Potato Cells Through Osmosis

An Investigation to find out how different strengths of salt solution affect potato cells through osmosis.


I aim to investigate the effect of different concentrations of salt solution on potato cells when osmosis occurs.


I intent to set up this experiment using equally sized cylinders of potato submerged in salt solutions of different concentrations. I will then observe the percentage change in mass over a set period of time. This will show me how much osmosis has occurred.

Scientific Theory of Osmosis

Osmosis is defined as the solvent of any solution being able to pass
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Plants cells however are very different as they have a cell wall which is very strong and fully permeable; however plant cells also have a cell membrane which is only partially permeable.

If a plant cell is placed in pure water, it will not burst because of its strong cell wall. The cell will still take water in by osmosis, as in the animal cell. The cytoplasm will press against the cell wall but it will not burst. A cell like this is said to be turgid. This means it is firm and tight and will help a plant with no wood to stay upright and keeps its shape. Plant cells are usually turgid.

Plant cells in a concentrated solution behave very differently. Like the animal cell, water flows out by osmosis and the cytoplasm and vacuole will shrink. The cytoplasm stops pushing against the cell wall and the cell becomes floppy or flaccid. This is what causes plants to wilt. If the solution is very concentrated, lots of water will diffuse out causing the cytoplasm to shrink further. Because the cell wall cannot shrink, the membrane tears away and the cell become plasmolysed. This is quite rare and usually kills the cell.

When plant cells are placed in a solution which is exactly the same concentration as the cytoplasm, they are between turgidity and flaccidity. This is called incipient plasmolysis. "Incipient" means "starting to happen".


I predict that the more
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