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Experiment to show the effect of osmosis in potato cells with different concentrations of sucrose solution.

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Introduction

Experiment to show the effect of osmosis in potato cells with different concentrations of sucrose solution. Aim: To test the effect of different concentrations of sucrose solution to osmosis in a potato cells by putting potato pieces in test tubes of water containing different concentrations of sucrose solution. Scientific Theory: Osmosis is defined as the movement of water molecules across a partially permeable membrane from a region of high water concentration to a region of low water concentration. In a high concentration of water the amount of solute (e.g. sugar) is low. This could be called a weak or dilute solution. In a low concentration of water the amount of solute (e.g. sucrose) is high. This could be called a strong or concentrated solution. When two such solutions are divided by a partially permeable membrane the water will move from the area of high concentration to the area of low concentration, until both sides are equal (have reached equilibrium). Knowing that osmosis will occur across a partially permeable membrane whenever there is a difference between the water concentrations on the two sides of the membrane, and knowing that when this happens to cells they will either become turgid if water flows into them, or flaccid if water flows out of them, and thus change their volume, we want to test the hypothesis that: If the concentration of a solution into which a cylinder of potato is placed is greater than a certain level the cylinder will contract, and if the concentration is less than that level it will expand. ...read more.

Middle

Fair Test To obtain accurate results fair testing should be considered. If this experiment is not a fair test, we will be obtaining the wrong results and the experiment will be a failure. We will have to get the measurements and the weights of the solutions and the potatoes as accurate as possible. Also, we will make sure that every chip is totally submerged in the solution because then every chip has an equal amount of solution around it. When using the balance, we will make sure that the balance is reading zero and after the experiment taking the reading to the nearest 2 decimal places. Carrying out the experiment in a constant temperature during each part of the experiment and therefore we will leave each set of test tubes on the same place every time so that each tube is in the same atmosphere. Another important factor of a fair test is to make sure that every set of test tubes is tested for the same period of time - 24 hours. It is also very important to use solutions with the exact concentrations of sugar otherwise it would affect our results. Safety Safety is an important aspect in every experiment, even if the experiment seems to be very harmless. And that is why we take this into consideration. We will be using a very sharp knife, which could injure someone if it is not handled properly. ...read more.

Conclusion

Human error could have been reduced by taking more accurate measurements and cutting with more accuracy. This could be improved by using a tool, which could be set to a set length to cut the potato. To get a wider perspective on this subject, I would like to repeat the experiment again but using a different vegetable or fruit, for example, with a carrot or an apple to see if osmosis affects them in the same way as it does potato. I would also widen the range of sugar concentrations to include 1.1M 2M. Moreover, I would like to see if and when the cells reach a maximum and minimum weight. Temperature could also be changed, for example the samples could be placed in different test tubes at different temperatures to see if temperature played its part in the osmosis of potatoes. 5 sets of 3 potatoes could be placed in test tubes at 10oC, 20oC, 30oC, 50oC and 60oC. Then leave them for 24 hours making sure all the variables in the first experiment still apply however just using one molar solution. Then after 24 hours re-weigh the samples and record the result. I would expect that at high temperatures the potato samples would gain the most weight. This is because at high temperatures the water molecules would move faster and therefore equal the concentration faster. A preliminary experiment could be set up beforehand to find out how long the experiment should be kept going because if the concentration of the potatoes equalises then the weight of the potatoes will be almost exactly the same. ...read more.

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