# Find out the concentration of the cell contents of a potato

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Find out the concentration of the cell contents of a potato

Introduction

Osmosis is the diffusion of water from a lower concentration of solute
to a higher concentration of solute through a partially permeable
membrane. This lets smaller molecules such as water, pass through but
does not allow bigger molecules through. The molecules continue to
diffuse until they reach a balanced state, where no area has a higher
or lower concentration than any other.

In a high concentration of water the amount of sugar solution is low.
This is called a weak/dilute solution. In a weak concentration of
water the amount of sugar solution is high. This is called a
strong/concentrated solution.

When a semi-permeable membrane divides two solutions, the water will
move from the area of high concentration to the area of low
concentration, until both sides are equal.

Aim

To find out how much sugar concentration there is in a cell of a
potato. This means I will put the potato cylinders in different
solutions of different concentrations.

There are also other factors involved, these are:

· Temperature of water

· Size of potato cylinder

· Mass of potato cylinder

· Volume of solution potato cylinder is in

· Type of potato

· Time left in solution

Fair Testing

If this experiment isn’t a fair test, we will be collecting the wrong
results, which can lead us to the wrong conclusions. To conduct a fair
test I will ensure that the experiment is carried out at room
temperature. The size of the potato is an important factor, as the
amount of weight lost or gained will alter. Also the potato cylinders
will be weighed before and after the experiment to see if osmosis has
taken place. The type of potato I will use will stay the same as
different potatoes may absorb at different rates.

Planned Method

A range of sugar solutions will be arranged with concentrations……………..

Sections of potato will be cut with a scalpel and measured with a
ruler. This has to be done carefully as the difference of surface area
may allow more or less osmosis to occur. The mass of each cylinder
will be weighed to ensure consistency. I will do each experiment three
times so that I can take an average for each sugar solution. By doing
this I will receive more accurate results and therefore draw up a more
accurate conclusion. I will also use 20 ml of each solution and of
tap water. The potato cylinders will then be left for 15 minutes. When
the cylinders are removed I will clean them with a paper towel, to
remove excess moisture, and then re-weigh them.

Prediction

For this investigation, I think the lower the concentration of the

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sugar solution in the beaker the larger the mass of the potato will
be. This is because the water molecules will pass from a high
concentration (the water) to a low concentration (the potato
cylinder). This means that the potato in higher water concentrations
will have a larger mass than in higher sugar concentrations.

Apparatus

· Potato

· Sugar solutions x5- 0%, 1%, 2%, 3% and 4%

· Tap water

· Cork borer

· Measuring cylinder

· Tile

· Beaker x5

· Knife

· Ruler

· Digital scales

· Clingfilm

Method

1. Bore a hole through an average sized potato.

2. Using a scalpel and ruler I cut the potato into 5 equal pieces
measuring 2cm long.

3. Using a measuring cylinder, I measured out 100ml of water and put
it into each of the beakers.

4. I then weighed the sugar content needed by using digital scales.
This varied starting with 1g for 1% of sugar, then 2 grams for 2% of
sugar etc. These weights were then recorded.

5. I put each potato cylinder into the different beakers containing
the sugar solution. These were labeled so as to not get confused.

6. We covered the tops of the beakers with clingfilm so that oxygen
would not interfere with the experiment.

7. After 48 hours, I drained out the solutions and placed all the
potato cylinders in the order they were in the beakers, so not to
confuse myself.

8. I dried each potato and placed it on the scales to be weighed.

9. Each was measured accurately and recorded.

10. The potato cylinders were weighed twice as to gain an average for
my results.

Results and Conclusion

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
% of Sugar Volume of Sugar weight Mass before Mass after Change in mass
Solution water (g) (g) mass (g)

0% 100ml 0g 5.12g 3.32g 1.80g
1% 100ml 1g 4.92g 3.27g 1.65g
2% 100ml 2g 5.23g 2.94g 2.29g
3% 100ml 3g 5.14g 2.50g 2.64g
45 100ml 4g 5.12g 2.48g 2.64g
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My graph shows that the mass of the potato cylinders before the
experiment are roughly more or less the same, whereas as after the
experiment, their mass decreases more as a result of which solution it
was in, e.g. - high sugar solution= decrease in mass.

My results show that the potato cells increase in mass solutions in
high concentration and decrease in mass in solutions in low
concentration. When the concentration reaches above 3%, there appears
to be no further mass loss, this is because the cell is fully
plasmolysed. This is called the isotonic point, when the potato is
neither increasing nor decreasing in mass. This is when the potato
cannot expand and take in any more water.

The graph shows that there is an obvious decrease in mass during the
experiment, which proves my hypothesis as being correct as the higher
the sugar concentration the more mass lost.

On my graph I have marked the point where the graph line crosses the
place on the axis where the potato neither loses nor gains mass. This
happens when the concentration of the sugar solution is 3%, so
therefore the content of the potato is 3%.

Evaluation

In my opinion the experiment went well. I gathered a sufficient
quantity of results that allowed me to create an informative graph.
The time used for the experiment was a good choice as it gave enough
time for osmosis to occur. The amount of concentrations was about
right, but if I were to repeat the experiment I would maybe use higher
ranges.

In my opinion the cutting of the potatoes was the hardest part as
although I was only recording the mass for my results, it could have
affected the surface area and therefore the general rate of osmosis.

Through my findings I did not find any anomalies. The only possible
incorrect things could have been that on removing the potatoes from
the beakers, one could have been more dried more thoroughly than the
others and so would have had excess water, this would add to the mass.
If the experiment was repeated I would find another way to dry off the
potatoes that would ensure they were dried the same way for the same
amount of time.

To extend this experiment I could by looking at the potato cylinders
through a microscope, this would enable me to see the cells in greater
detail and draw some more observational drawings.

However I thought the experiment went very well, and I was pleased
that the results backed up my initial prediction.