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Comparative Cell Membranes

and Transport Lab

Hannah Barlow

Today we will be doing experiments on diffusion, osmosis, and transport.
Diffusion is the tendency of molecules to spread into an available space,
without other outside forces at work, substances will diffuse from a more
concentrated environment to a less concentrated environment (Bailey). The
rate diffusion happens, is dependent on membrane permeability. The
plasma membrane is a barrier in which substances must pass in order to
exit or enter into the cell. This is present in all living beings. It acts as a
selective doorway (Hands-On Labs). The plasma membrane and two layers
of phospholipids and each one has a polar head and a nonpolar tail. This
makes it able to be selective to what comes in and out. Only molecules with
certain characteristics are able to pass through the membrane while others
are blocked (Hands-On Labs).
Transporter Proteins are power active movement of molecules into and
out of the cell (Hands-On Labs). The proteins that bind chemicals together in
fluid to detect chemical levels are receptor proteins, and when a reaction
is started, enzymes are present. A passive transport is when the transport
or distribution of molecules requires no work or energy. This means all
molecules are distributed evenly on the sides of the cell membrane. This is
called equilibrium. According to our Hands-on Lab, when an active
transport occurs, molecules and ions are able to travel from an area of
lesser concentration to an area of greater concentration. Active transport is a
process which requires energy in the form of ATP.
One kind of diffusion is osmosis. Osmosis is the diffusion of water across a
selectively permeable membrane (Hands-On Labs). Water will create
equilibrium, so this requires water to move from a higher concentration, to a
lower concentration. Hands-On Labs says, Osmosis in cells results in three
primary cell states, all related to solute concentration inside versus outside
the cell: hypertonic, isotonic, or hypotonic. In a hypertonic solution (hypermeaning over and tonic meaning tone), the concentration of solutes
outside the cell is greater than inside the cell and water diffuses out of the
cell. In a hypotonic solution (hypo- meaning under), the concentration of
solutes inside the cell is greater than outside the cell and water diffuses into
the cell. In an isotonic solution (iso- meaning same), the concentration of
solutes inside the cell equals the concentration of solutes outside the cell
and water does not diffuse.

When demonstrating osmosis in the experiment, I believe the potato will be

heavier at the end of the incubating period. I think with the larger amounts of
sugar and water mixed, it will cause it to gain weight. When demonstrating
diffusion, I believe the crystals will diffuse at a faster rate in the hot water. In
the diffusion across the membrane experiment takes place, I believe the
dialysis tubing will turn black or a similar color due to the starch.

Materials and Methods: Hands-On Labs

Student Supplied Materials

Hands-On Lab Supplied Materials

Plant Cells and Osmosis: (Hands-On Labs)

Day 1:
1. Use a marker to label six test tubes a-f.

2. Place 100 mL beaker on the scale and zero the scale.

3. Add 17.1 g of sugar in the beaker.
4. Measure 50 mL of distilled water with a graduated cylinder. Add water
into the beaker slowly. Stir with the glass rod until it dissolves.
5. Use a marker to label a short stem pipet DW. This will be used for the
distilled water.
6. Create and set up test tubes.
a. Distilled water solution: Measure 5mL of distilled water. Pour it
into corresponding test tube.
b. 0.2M sucrose solution: Measure 1mL of the sucrose solution. Use
to DW pipet to add 4mL of distilled water to the graduated
cylinder. Put solution into test tube b.
c. 0.4 sucrose solution: Measure 2mL of sucrose solution into the
graduated cylinder. Use the DW pipet to add 3mL of distilled
water into the graduated cylinder. Add to test tube C.
d. 0.6 sucrose solution: Measure 3mL of sucrose into the graduated
cylinder. Add 2mL of distilled water to the cylinder. Add solution
into test tube D.
e. 0.8 Sucrose solution: Measure 4mL of sucrose into the graduated
cylinder. Add 1mL of distilled water. Pour into test tube E.
f. 1 sucrose solution: Measure 5mL of sucrose into graduated
cylinder, add to test tube F.
7. Find you cutting board, knife, ruler, potato, and plastic wrap. Since 12
equally sized pieces of potatoes. They should be 5x5x20mm in size.
There should be no brown on these potatoes. Use plastic wrap to
prevent dehydration.
8. Use plastic wrap to cover your digital scale.
9. Place two potato strips on the scale at one time. Record initial mass for
all sets of strips.
Place the first two is test tube A.
Repeat these steps for test tubes B-F.
Cover the test tubes with plastic wrap to prevent evaporation.
Place test tub rack where it will not be disturbed and leave
Record your hypothesis on whether the potato strips will gain or
lose weight.
Wash your beaker and graduated cylinder.
Day 2

Find the final mass of each potato pair.

a. Pour contents of test tube into the beaker.
b. Place plastic wrap over the scale.
c. Use tweezers to remove potatoes.

d. Weigh potatoes and record final weight.

e. Discard solution in the beaker.
f. Repeat for all test tubes.
Calculate and record the mass difference, record. The formula is
mass difference = final mass-initial mass.
Calculate percentage change and record. Formula is Percent
change = (Final mass-Initial Mass) divided by Initial Mass multiplied by
Create a bar graph to show the percent change. Plot molarity of
sucrose (M) on the x-axis and the change in potato mass (%) on the yaxis.
Share data among classmates.
Wash all equipment and dry.

Diffusion and Temperature: Hands-On Labs

1. Get 3 test tubes. Make sure test tubes are dry.
2. Get your ruler and permanent marker. Draw a mark 7 cm from the bottom
of each test tube.
3. Place the test tubes in an empty coffee cup.
4. Get a small amount of potassium permanganate (KMnO4) crystals on a
scrap of paper.
5. Put 5 crystals in every test tube.
6. Label 3 the plastic cups cold, ambient, and warm.
7. For the cold cup, put in 23 ice cubes. Add water until it is of the way
full. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes.
8. Use a thermometer to measure and record the temperature of the cold
water. It should be near 5C.
9. Fill the ambient cup full of water. Make sure it is around 25oC. Record.
10. Fill the warm cup full of water. Make sure it is within a few degrees of
40C. Measure and record temperature.
11. Use pipet to slowly add water from the cold cup to the first test tube. Tilt
test tube so that it is on an angle and the water will slowly go down the side
of the test tube. Diffusion will start to take place. Make sure to fill up to your
12. Observe and record.
13. Place the test tube in the cold cup. Make sure no water is allowed into
the test tube.
14. Repeat for the ambient and warm cups and corresponding test tubes.
15. Observe and record.
Record again at 5 minutes, and 10 minutes.

16. Cleanup. Wash and dry all equipment used.

Diffusion Across a Membrane: (Hands-On Labs)

1. Get your plastic cups. Use the marker to label the cups 1 and 2.
2. Use your graduated cylinder to add 150 mL of distilled water to cup 1.
3. Place the dialysis tubing in the water in cup 1. Soak it for at least 5minutes
or until the tubing becomes soft.
4. Use the marker to label a short pipet DW. Add 4 mL ofdistilled water to the
graduated cylinder with your pipet.
5. Add 2 mL of starch solution directly from the dropper bottle to the
graduated cylinder.
The final volume should be 6 mL total.
6. Add 2 mL of 20% glucose solution directly from the dropper bottle to the
graduated cylinder. The final volume for this step is 8 mL.
7. Transfer the solution from the graduated cylinder to cup 2.
8. Mix the solution with the glass rod.
9. Use scissors to snip a rubber band in 1 place. Do this to the second rubber
bad as well, and set it aside.
10. Remove the dialysis tubing from the water in cup 1.
11. Put cup 1 aside for later usage.
12. Fold the dialysis tubing about 1 cm from the end. Tie the snipped
rubber band around thefolded end of the tubing, creating a seal.
13. Test the seal with a small amount of distilled water. Use the following
procedures as a guide:
a. To open the unsealed end of the dialysis tubing, carefully rub the
tubing between your fingers until the middle of the tubing opens.
b. Use the pipet labeled DW to add a small amount of distilled water to
the dialysis tubing.
c. If the tube leaks, tighten the knot in the rubber band and repeat the
d. Discard the distilled water used to test the dialysis tubing.
14. Place a funnel in the open end of the dialysis tubing.
15. Slowly pour the glucose/starch solution from cup 2 into the funnel.

16. Use your fingers to press any air from the top of the dialysis tubing. Fold
the end of the tubing
and tie the end closed with a rubber band. Ensure that there are no leaks
from the dialysis
17. Rinse the outside of the dialysis tubing with distilled water.
18. Set aside on a paper towel.
19. Observe and record initial observations.
20. Use a pipet to slowly add 20 drops of IKI solution to the water in cup 1.
21. Mix with your glass rod.
22. Observe and record for initial observations.
23. Place the dialysis tubing in cup 1.
24. Allow the dialysis tubing to sit in the cup for 1 hour. Wash and dry cup 2.
25. After one hour, observe and record what you see.
26. Remove the dialysis tubing from the solution in cup 1 and hold it over
cup 2. Use scissors to cut the dialysis tubing and pour it into cup 2.
27. Set aside both cup 1 and cup 2.
28. get 3 test tubes. Use the marker to label the test tubes 1, 2, and 3. With
a ruler, place a mark 2 cm and 3 cm from the bottom of each test tube.
29. Prepare each of the test tubes as follows:
a. To test tube 1, use a clean, short stem pipet to add the solution in
cup 1 to the 2cm mark of the test tube. Discard the pipet in a trash bin.
b. To test tube 2, use a clean, short stem pipet to add the solution from
cup 2 to the 2-cm mark of the test tube.
c. To test tube 3, use the short stem pipet labeled DW to add distilled
water to the 2-cmmark of the test tube.
d. Add Benedicts reagent to 3-cm mark of each of the three test tubes.
Swirl the test tube contents to mix.
e. Set the 3 test tubes aside. An empty cup, beaker, or 24-well plate
work well as a test tube holder.
30. Observe and record under initial observations.
31. Fill a coffee mug with very hot water, Make sure water is at least 90
degrees Celsius.
32. Place test tubes 13 in the hot water.
33. Let them sit for 10 minutes.
34. Observe and record under final observations.
35. Clean up.


In the experiment with the potatoes and sugar, my hypothesis was the exact
opposite of what really happened. When weighing my potatoes after the 24hour incubating period, I found the test tubes that contained more sugar,
had lighter potatoes and the test tubes with no or little amounts of sugar
were much heavier than their initial weights. My percent change range was
from 0-68%.
In the experiment with the potassium permanganate, my hypothesis was
that diffusion would happen faster in warm water, rather than cold. My
hypothesis was correct. The rate of diffusion was much faster than the cold
cup. Instantly, the whole solution was purple in color. Particles move faster
when they are warm, hence the reasoning why the diffusion happened much
faster with the warm water.
In the experiment with the glucose/starch solution, my hypothesis was
correct since the solution did turn dark blue/black due to the presence of
starch. The IKI indicator tested for that. The benedicts reagent tested for

present sugars. Sugar was present in cup 1 and 2. Distilled water was your
control in the experiment.
Honestly, I am not sure how to relate this to real life situations. In foods, if we
needed to know if sugar or starch is present, we could use the IKI indicator or
the Benedicts reagent to find these. This could be important for safety or
food inspections or for the police if someone sued for an allergy to glucose or
Works Cited
Campbell, Neil A. Biology: Concepts and Connections. San Francisco, CA:
Pearson Education, 2005. Print
Hands-on Labs, Inc.42-0291-00-02. HandsOn Learning. Lab Paq. Web. 02 Feb.
2016. <http://www.HOLscience.com/>
"What Is Diffusion?" About.com Education. Web. 11 Feb. 2016.