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The Effect Of Temperature On A Plasma Membrane.

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The Effect of Temperature on a Plasma Membrane The Effect Of Temperature On A Plasma Membrane Aim: This experiment aims to determine what effect an increase in the surrounding temperature has on the plasma membrane of a typical plant cell structure. Hypothesis: An increase in temperature will damage and denature the plasma membrane and cause the cytoplasm and other substances contained within the membrane to leak out. Introduction: The purpose of a cell membrane is to control the transport of substances moving into and out of a cell. The membrane is an extremely thin layer (8 to 10 manometers (nm)) thick, which is partially permeable. It consists mostly of lipids and proteins. The lipids found in cell membranes belong to a class known as triglycerides, so called because they have one molecule of glycerol chemically linked to three molecules of fatty acids. The majority belong to one subgroup of triglycerides known as phospholipids. Despite their many differences in appearance and function, all cells have a surrounding membrane (called the plasma membrane) enclosing a water-rich substance called the cytoplasm. All cells host a variety of chemical reactions that enable them to grow, produce energy, and eliminate waste.


The cylinder will remain inside the corer, so it must be pushed out with a corer of a smaller diameter. Once a few good, uniform cylinders have been collected, they must then be cut into 7 pieces of equal length. The beetroot was cut to 1cm. Because the beetroot has been cut some of the cell membranes had been broken, which means some anthocyanin will leak out. This must be completely washed off in order to maintain the reliability of the results. A water bath must then be heated to 85¢XC (the maximum temperature for our experiment) using the Bunsen burner and tripod. Once the water bath is at the correct temperature (measured using our thermometer), one piece of beetroot is placed into the hot water directly and left for exactly 1 minute. When the minute is up, the beetroot piece will then be placed into 10cm³ of distilled water. This procedure will be repeated with the other six pieces of beetroot with the only difference being the temperature of the water. The temperatures will be using are 85¢XC, 70¢XC, 65¢XC, 60¢XC, 55¢XC, 42¢XC and 36¢XC.


The control experiment used was highly accurate, using distilled water, which is the clearest possible liquid, meant that even the slightest deviation in colour could be detected by the colorimeter. Controlling the variables in the experiment is not an easy task. The first major problem is the size of the beetroot piece. The pieces could be the same mass, but have a very different surface area to one another. This obviously alters the effect of the experiment. The other difficult variable to maintain was the temperature of the heated water. With only basic equipment, keeping the water at the correct temperature was made a complicated task. External variables were well controlled. If the experiment was to be repeated, the use of a proper controlled water bath may be a consideration, and also a template made for cutting the beetroot pieces. Using a beetroot as the sample is not a good representation of the whole eykaryote group. Other cell membranes may have better or worse heat tolerance, some may not be affected at all, however, using a beetroot does give a good representation of the theories behind the plasma membrane and how it behaves.

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