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The effect of different sucrose (sugar) concentrations on osmosis in potato cylinders

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Introduction

The effect of different sucrose (sugar) concentrations on osmosis in potato cylinders Background: Osmosis is essential in all biological systems. It is applied to water purification and desalination, waste material treatment, and many other chemical and biochemical laboratory and industrial processes. Osmosis is the diffusion of water down the 'concentration' gradient (from an area with more water molecules to an area with less water molecules) through a semi-permeable membrane. Water moves from an area of high water concentration (high water potential) to one with a low water concentration (low water potential). Osmosis is important in plant cells as it makes them turgid, therefore containing more water in the vacuole to keep the shape of the plant. If there is not enough water then the vacuoles shrink, causing the plant to become flaccid and wilt. Aim: The aim of this experiment is to study the effect that different sucrose concentrations have on the mass and length of potato cylinders. ...read more.

Middle

A result for each potato cylinder will be taken from each beaker to calculate the averages so that graphs and conclusions can be drawn. Hypothesis: I think that the potato cylinders with the higher concentrations of sucrose (80%, 100%) are most likely to decrease in mass and length. I think this because there is a lower water potential in the sucrose solution, meaning that the water molecules in the potato cylinder will osmose to the solution. This means that the cells will become flaccid due to the smaller amount of water in the vacuole. The potatoes in the lower concentrations of sucrose (0%, 20%) will increase in mass and length. This is due to the high water potential in the solution. The water molecules in the solution diffuse to the lower water potential in the potato, making the vacuoles full of water, leading the cell to become turgid and therefore increase in mass and length. The potato cylinders in the medium concentrations of solution (e.g. ...read more.

Conclusion

Evaluation: Our results are quite accurate. If you were to join the points on the graph into a line then I think that you would be surprised by the randomness of it. On the change in mass graph there is one ridiculous anomaly which was obviously due to bad measuring or adding up. I don't think that my experiment was that reliable, as our results were a little abnormal. I think that if the potato cylinders were the same mass and length at the start then the results may have been a little more accurate. You have to make sure that they are measured and weighed precisely otherwise the results can be way out. If I had done 11 overall tests at every 10% rather than 6 overall tests at every 20% then we would have a more accurate diagram to support the experiment. The experiment would also be more conclusive if I had done the entire experiment more than once. If I had done it 3 times then the averages would be more accurate. I do not think that the evidence I have is enough to support a firm conclusion. ...read more.

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