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Movement in and out of Cells (Beetroot) Lab Report

Aim: The aim of this experiment is to explore the factors that affect the movement of materials
in and out of cells by measuring light transmission. We will be using a beetroot plant to
investigate the two factors; surface area of the beetroot and the change in external
environment, which affect the movement of beta lain(color pigment) out of the beetroot cells.

Hypothesis: Beetroots have a color absorbing pigment called beta lain. This pigment gives the
beetroot plant a strong red/purple color. This pigment is found within the vacuole of beetroot
cells. The pigment gets removed from the vacuole as its external environment changes. I
predict that the 4mL of 50% alcohol in which the beetroot would be placed in, would contain the
most amount of pigment, which would have diffused from the beetroots vacuole. The alcohol
would break the protein bonds increasing the permeability. Osmosis will then occur, the water
molecules will move from a high water concentration(inside the cell) to an area of low water
concentration(the solution). Hence, all the pigment will come out from the vacuole into the
solution. Furthermore, when the light transmission will be measured, I estimate the value of the
amount of transmission will be low. This is because since the solution is expected to be of a dark
color, most of the light will be absorbed, hence giving a low reading.

Dependent variable: The percentage of light transmitted.
Independent variable: External environment
Surface area
Controlled Variables:
Variable to be controlled How it is to be controlled
Size of beetroot discs The size of beetroot discs must be kept same
around 2mm each.
Amount of solution The amount of solution for each type that the
beetroots are placed in must be kept same.
Each solution must be 4mL.
Time beetroot pieces are left in each
solution for
The timings must be same the same. The
beetroot pieces should be put in all at the
same time for 15 minutes at least.
External environment the experiment is
conducted in
The external environment of the experiment
setup must be kept constant. Avoid any harsh
heat or cooling temperatures.

5 test tubes and a rack
distilled water
25% and 50% Alcohol
beetroot (Beta vulgaris)
White tile for cutting
3 droppers ( for 25%alcohol 50% alcohol and water)
tripod stand and wire gauze
bunsen burner
water bath

1. Use a ruler and scalpel to cut the cylinder of beetroot into 25 discs
2. Set up a boiling water bath using a beaker and a bunsen burner
3. Take 5 discs and cut them further into smaller pieces (these will be added into the test tube
with the LSA test)
4. Rinse the beetroot until the water turns clear
5. Label and prepare 5 test tubes as follow
6. Add 5 discs in each test tube, leave the tubes undisturbed for 15 minutes as seen in Fig1.1
7. Shake the tubes gently and observe the colors by placing them on a white tile
8. Then use the spectrometer to record the percentage of light transmitted.
9. Take a small amount of liquid from each test tube into different cuvette and record the
data, using Logger pro.

Data Table:

Test Tube Light Transmission (%) Color

A 51.04

Light faint pink
B 56.76 Bright pink
C 3.14 Dark wine red
D 0.45 Bright pink darker than B
E 24.04 Light pink
Fig1.1 Fig1.2

The graphs of this experiment were produced using the Logger Pro software, when
measuring the percentage of light transmission through each of the solutions.

As can be seen from the results obtained my hypothesis was correct. The
solution, which contained the most pigment was solution C. Solution C was 50% alcohol.
The strong concentration of alcohol dissolves the cellular membrane and phospholipids
in the beetroot cell. This then causes the permeability to decrease, causing osmosis to
occur at a faster rate, which as a result makes the beta lain in the vacuole, exit out into
the solution, making the solution dark colored. The light transmission through this
solution was one of the lowest, however not the lowest, as expected. The percent of
light transmitted through test tube C was 3.14%, whereas the light transmitted for test
tube D, which had beetroot pieces in hot water, has a light transmission of 0.45%. We
can assume that this is probably a methodical error as the color of the solution is lighter
than test tube C. When the beetroot is placed in boiling hot water, the heat denatures
the cell membranes, also making osmosis occur at a faster rate. The beta lain pigment
passes through easily from the vacuole into the solution, also giving it a dark pink color.
Furthermore, we notice in test tube D when the surface area of the beetroot pieces is
increased, even though the color isnt dark, the light transmission is lower. This is also
because increasing the surface area means more beta lain is able to enter the solution.
While measuring the light transmissions of each of these solutions, the darker the colors
are the lower the light transmissions percentage as darker colors are absorbed while
light colors are reflected.

The reliability of the results was accurate to a certain extent. Since we were
using electronic equipment and an electronic software to measure our results, there
could have been some unavoidable errors.
We were able to control most of our variables well. The size of beetroot discs was tried
to kept at 2mm each, however this was not possible to keep 100% accurate, as we had
to cut a total of 25 discs, all of which couldnt be the same size. We did use a ruler to try
and approximately make all pieces the same size as it would affect our result if some
pieces were thick and some were thin. The amount of each solution was kept exactly
the same. We used measuring cylinders to accurately measure the solution before
placing the beetroot pieces inside. Lastly, we used stopwatches to keep accurate timings
for the amount of time the beetroot pieces were left inside. We ensured that the
beetroot pieces were only kept in for 15 minutes. Also the external environment of the
experiment set up was kept constant. We conducted the experiment, keeping all test
tubes away from any source of heat or air conditioning, which could have affected our