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Diffusion Through Cell Membrane 1

Diffusion Through Cell Membrane Lab

Emma Pherson

Honors Biology Period 4

Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School

April 26, 2018


Diffusion Through Cell Membrane 2

Introduction

Cell transport is how particles move across the cell membrane. There are different types

of cell transport like active and passive. Passive transport is when ions or molecules along from a

higher to lower concentration moving along with the concentration gradient (Biology Online).

The simulated cell that is going to be going under diffusion, net movement of particles from an

area where there are many particles of the substance to an area where there are fewer particles of

the substance, in this experiment will have a semi permeable membrane. (Diffusion Through

Cell Membrane Packet). Selectively permeable means that the membrane allows only some

kinds, not all, of molecules to pass through. Osmosis is the diffusion of water molecules through

a selectively permeable membrane. The three different osmotic environments are hypotonic,

more number of solutes rushing into the cell, isotonic, equal number of solutes entering and

leaving the cell, and hypertonic, more solutes leaving the cell. Importance of understanding

osmosis in real world- putting salt on fish to preserve it (Diffusion Through Cell Membrane

Packet). What was used to display a selectively permeable cell membrane was dialysis tubing.

Dialysis tubing is a semi permeable bag that was used to represent a cell membrane during

osmosis for this laboratory (Biology Dictionary).

There are multiple different purposes for conducting this experiment. For example, in

part one, the purposes were to help students understand osmosis using a dialysis tubing cell, to

determine how diff concentration gradients effect the rate of osmosis, to see the effects of

osmosis in the three environments, and how the time or the closer u get to equilibrium effects

osmosis. In part two, the purpose was to see what else the dialysis tubing is permeable to. To
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figure this out, there had to be a certain set up for this experiment. In beaker one, our simulated

cell was in an isotonic environment. In beaker two, three, and four, it was in a hypotonic

environment. Finally, in beaker five, the 80 in 60 simulated cells were in a hypotonic

environment and the 0 in 60 was in a hypertonic environment.

The dependent variable of part one was the mass of our simulated cell and the

independent variable was the amount of glucose in the solution or the type of environment the

cell was placed in. On the other hand, in part two, the dependent variable was the color change

and the independent variable was the placement of the starch. The constants of part one were the

5mL of solution in the cells, the 200 mL of solution in the beakers, how the dialysis tubing was

tied, how they were timed and weighed, all six bags at the same time, and drying them off before

weighing them. In part two, the constants were the amount of iodine, 20 drops, starch, about half

spoon, how the dialysis tubing was tied, and washing off the bag before putting them in the

solution. In part one, the control group was the water in water experimental group, all other bags

except water in water. In part two the control group was the original set up, clear water and white

starch. The experimental group was the ending product, yellow water and black starch.

The hypothesizes for part one before the experiment was preformed was if a semi

permeable bag of water is placed in a beaker of 200 mL of water, then the bag would weigh

approximately the same after compared to before because it was placed into an isotonic

environment for the water in water beaker, if a semipermeable bag of 5 mL of 20 percent glucose

solution is placed in a 200 mL beaker of water then it would weigh more after weighing it

because it was placed in a hypotonic environment and this means more water would rush through

the “cell membrane” for the 20 in water beaker, if a semi permeable bag of 5 mL of 40 percent

glucose solution was placed in a 200 mL beaker of water then it would weigh more after the
Diffusion Through Cell Membrane 4

experiment because it was placed in a hypotonic environment for the 40 in water beaker, if a

semi permeable bag of 5 mL of 60 percent glucose solution was placed in a beaker of 200 mL of

water then the bag would weigh more afterwards because of the water traveling through the

dialysis tubing in this hypotonic environment for the 60 in water beaker, if a bag of 5 mL of

water in dialysis tubing was placed in a 200 mL beaker of 60 percent glucose solution then the

bag would weigh less after the experiments because it was in a hypertonic environment and the

water concentration is higher inside of the “cell”, so to reach equilibrium, water would travel out

of the “cell” for the water in 60 beaker, and if a semi permeable bag of 80 percent glucose

solution was placed in a 200 mL beaker of solution then the dialysis tubing bag would weigh

more afterwards because the water concentration is higher in the 60 percent glucose solution, so

the water would travel through the dialysis tubing into the “cell” causing it to weigh more for the

80 in 60 beaker. For part two, the hypothesis was if you place half a spoon of starch in dialysis

tubing in about a half of beaker water with 20 drops of iodine solution then the color of the

solution in the bag will turn from white to black and the solution outside of the bag will turn

from yellow to clear because the “cell” was placed in a hypotonic environment and the solution

outside of the cell will rush into the dialysis tubing bag, causing the white starch to turn black

because of the iodine, and the solution outside will turn clear because of the iodine rushing into

the “cell”.

Materials

The materials I used to carry out this experiment for part one and part two was 5 beakers,

20 percent, 40 percent, 60 percent, and 80 percent glucose solution, water, dialysis tubing, a

scale, string, paper towels, timer, pipets, iodine solution, starch, and graduated cylinders.

Procedures
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These procedures are from the Diffusion Through the Cell Membrane packet. For this lab

what the class had to do was first get 5 pieces of dialysis tubing that had been soaking in water

for a prevalent period of time, then fill each tube with the amount needed. Bag one was filled

with 5 mL of tap water, bag two was filled with 5 mL of 20 percent glucose solution, bag three

was filled with 5 mL of 40 percent glucose solution, bag four was filled with 5 mL of 60 percent

glucose solution, bag five was filled with 5 mL of water, and lastly, bag six was filled with 5 mL

of 80 percent glucose solution. After each designated bag was filled with its solution, then they

were tied with a piece of string. To tie the bag correctly you will fold down, across, down then

tie a knot around twice. When tying the dialysis tubing, do not tie the knot so low and tight, so

that the bags will not be able to expand, swell, or lose weight. Once that is done, set each bag on

a separate paper towel so you are able to easily identify the different bags. Then, fill 4 beakers

with 200 mL of water and 1 beaker with 200 mL of 60 percent glucose solution. To get each

bag’s starting weight, weigh each bag. Record each of their weights in the packet. Once each bag

is with its assigned beaker, the lab can begin. Someone is needed to time each bag so it’s in the

solution for the correct period of time. Once ready, place bag one in beaker one, bag two in

beaker two, bag three in beaker three, bag four in beaker four, and bag five and six in beaker

five. Once each 3-minute time segment is over, at the same time take out each bag and dry of

lightly on a paper towel. Then, weigh each bag separately to get the correct weight. Record new

mass in packet to find the differences in the weights each time segment. At the same time,

replace each bag in the correct beaker and resume the timer until the next pull out time. Repeat

the following two steps two more times until the lab is over. Then, the table for part one should

be complete.
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For part two, first, grab 1 piece of dialysis tubing and tie one end of the tubing like in part

one. Then, fill the tube with a half spoon of the starch solution. Tie open end as described in part

one. Rinse bag off to insure no starch solution is on outside of the bag and wipe dry the bag and

set on paper towel. Fill half a beaker with tap water and add 20 drops of Iodine. Then place bag

in water. Fill out Table 2: Cell Model Permeability Data. Let sit for 48 hours and then remove

cell and dry off. Examine bags and complete Table 2: Cell Model Permeability Data. Then, the

lab is complete.

Results

This shows the data from various groups in three different class periods. To be consistent,

each average began started off with 0. For each augmentation of time, the average was taken

from each group. For the first beaker, from 0-3 minutes, there was a weight gain of 208

milligrams, from 3-6 minutes, there was a weight gain of 83 milligrams, and from 6-9 minutes,

there was a weight loss of 42 milligrams. For beaker 2, from 0-3 minutes, there was a 317-

milligram weight gain, from 3-6 minutes, there was a weight gain of 217 milligrams, and from 6-

9 minutes, there was a 167-milligram weight gain. In beaker 3, from 0-3 minutes, there was a

408-milligram weight gain, from 3-6 minutes, there was a 392-milligram weight gain, and from

6-9 minutes, there was a 308-milligram weight gain. For the fourth beaker, from 0-3 minutes,

there was a 567-milligram weight gain, from 3-6 minutes, there was a 442-milligram weight

gain, and from 6-9 minutes, there was a 400-milligram weight gain. For beaker five, from 0-3

minutes, there was a 150-milligram weight, from 3-6 minutes, there was a 383-milligram weight

loss, and from 6-9 minutes, there was a 250-milligram weight loss. Also, in beaker five, from 0-3

minutes, there was a weight gain of 241 milligrams, from 3-6 minutes, there was a 75-milligram

weight gain, and from 6-9 minutes, there was an 83-milligram weight gain. The data from each
Diffusion Through Cell Membrane 7

trial is shown in the table and graph below. Table one is a chart showing the final weight after

each time increment. Figure one is a graph comparing the weight gain and weight loss of each

trial.

Table 1: Effect of Concentration on Rate of Diffusion

Time Water in 20 in 40 in 60 in Water in 80 in 60

Water Water Water Water 60

0 0 0 0 0 0 0

3 208 317 408 567 -150 241

6 291 534 800 1009 -533 316

9 249 701 1108 1409 -783 399

Figure 1: Effect of Concentration on Rate of Diffusion Graph

Mass vs Time
2000

1500
60 water
Mass in Milligrams

1000
20 water
500 40 water
water water
0
0 3 6 9 water 60

-500 80 60

-1000
Time in Minutes
Diffusion Through Cell Membrane 8

In the above graph, mass change in the 3-minute intervals is shown. The dark blue line

increased by 208 milligrams after the first three minutes. Then, it increased by 291

milligrams and by 249 milligrams in the third-time interval. The orange line increased by 317

milligrams in the first three minutes. Then, it increased by 534 milligrams, and then by 701

milligrams. The gray line increased by 408 milligrams in the first three minutes. In the following

three minutes, it increased by 800 milligrams. Then, it increased by 1180 milligrams in the final

three minutes. The yellow line increased by 567 milligrams in the first three minutes. In the

following three minutes, it increased by 1009 milligrams and then by 1409 milligrams in the next

three minutes. The light blue line decreased by 150 milligrams. In the next three minutes, it

decreased by 533 milligrams and then by 783 milligrams in the following three minutes. The

green line increased by 241 milligrams. In the following three minutes, it increased by 316

milligrams and then by 399 milligrams in the next three minutes.

Table 2: Cell Model Permeability Data

Starting Color Color after 15 Minutes

Solution in Dialysis Bag White Black

Solution in Beaker Yellow Clear

After the dialysis bag of starch was placed into the solution these are the results that

occurred above. The starch in the bag turned from white to black and the solution outside of the

cell turned from yellow to clear.

Discussions

To begin, these results could have been more accurate if this experiment continued for a

longer period of time. When this experiment was preformed, it was only done for 9 minutes, but
Diffusion Through Cell Membrane 9

if it was continued for about 30 minutes to an hour, more fluctuation could be seen, and the

equilibrium reached would be more obvious. Although this experiment was only preformed for 9

minutes, the bags in part one lost and gained weight because of the environments they were

placed in. There are three different environments that the simulated cell could be placed into. A

hypotonic environment is when the concentration of water is higher outside of the cell, a

hypertonic environment is when the concentration of water is higher inside the cell, and an

isotonic environment is when the movement of water outside and inside the cell is equivalent

(Biology Dictionary Online). Then, the rate of osmosis slows down as the simulated cells get

closer to equilibrium because as time goes on, it gets closer and closer to equilibrium, so the

amount of weight gained goes down. The mass is still increasing, but the weight gain does not

gain as much each time. The rate of osmosis differs between the different concentration

gradients. As the concentration gradient increases, the rate of osmosis increases. 20 percent

glucose solution in water is a low concentration gradient and 60 percent glucose in water is a

high concentration gradient because of the amount of water inside of the dialysis tubing bag

compared to the amount of water outside. So since 60 percent glucose solution in water has a

higher concentration than 20 percent glucose solution in water then the rate of osmosis in 60

percent glucose solution would be higher. Equilibrium is reached by the higher concentration

gradient pushing water over to the lesser concentration gradient, and the rate of osmosis can

differ (APEC Water). Furthermore, the 80 percent glucose solution in 60 percent did not gain as

much weight from 0-3 minutes as the 20 percent glucose solution in water because the bag of 80

in 60 had another bag of water in 60 in the beaker with it. Because of the two bags in one beaker,

one with a hypotonic environment and one with a hypertonic environment, I think the 80 in 60

did not gain as much weight because the other bag of water in 60 was altering the rate of
Diffusion Through Cell Membrane 10

osmosis. The bag of 20 in 0 was the only “cell” in the beaker. Nothing could change the rate of

osmosis. Although, in the 5th beaker, since there were two bags, I think they caused the rate of

osmosis to be slightly different.

The, in part two, the inside of the simulated cell turned blue because it was in a hypotonic

environment. There was a higher concentration of water outside of the “cell”, so water rushed

through the semi permeable cell membrane, bringing the iodine solution with it. Study.com say

that having a semi permeable cell membrane means that it “only allows certain types of particles

to move through it under certain conditions”. This shows that the semi permeable dialysis tubing

is also selectively permeable to iodine solution.

Although, just like any other experiment, there could have been sources of error like the

wrong amount of solution in the dialysis tubing, not taking them out at the same time, mixing up

the bags, weighing them and not having the scale set to 0, and not calculating the mass changes

after taking them out each time. If I could change one thing about this lab to make it better, I

would leave the “cells” in the solution for longer amounts of time to see more fluctuation and see

it reach equilibrium. If the cells were placed longer in the solution we could how the rate of

osmosis differs with time and fully see the equilibrium reached in each environment.

References

“A COMPLETE RESOURCE GUIDE ON OSMOSIS.” A Complete Resource Guide on Osmosis


| APEC Water, www.freedrinkingwater.com/resource-a-complete-resource-guide-to-
osmosis.htm.
Diffusion Through Cell Membrane Packet
Editors. “Isotonic Solution - Definition and Examples.” Biology Dictionary, Biology Dictionary,
29 Apr. 2017, biologydictionary.net/isotonic-solution/.
Semipermeable Membrane: Definition & Overview. (n.d.). Retrieved April 29, 2018, from
https://study.com/academy/lesson/semipermeable-membrane-definition-lesson-quiz.html