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The Effect Of Different Solutions On Potato And Cucumber Strips

2705 words - 11 pages

The Effect of Different Solutions on Potato and Cucumber Strips



Plants in the soil have their roots in a dilute solution of various
mineral ions. Sometimes, the soil they are planted in gets flooded
with sea water (which has an average of 0.3 sodium chloride
concentration). In these cases the roots are observed to wilt and
become flaccid. In my experiment, I will simulate this situation using
potato and cucumber strips, placing them in different solutions
(sodium chloride, glucose and sucrose) at different molar

A substance dissolved in water is called a solute. A solvent is a
liquid that is able to dissolve another substance, a solute, to form a

Water potential is a measure of the ability of a solution to give out
water. Water potential (y) can be expressed as the sum of the solute
potential (ys) and the pressure potential (yp). (y) = (ys) + (yp)

The water potential of pure water is zero and all other solutions have
a negative water potential. The greater the solute concentration, the
more negative is the value for water potential.

Background Information

The water content of plants depends on environmental conditions. In
land plants, water plays a vital role in structural support and
mineral transport, thus, the lack of water may lead to wilting or
possibly death.

Water is mainly absorbed through the roots by Osmosis. Osmosis is the
diffusion of water molecules from and area of high water potential to
an area of low water potential through a partially permeable membrane.
The roots are covered in specially adapted root hair cells, which
increase the surface area, and have thin walls which facilitate the
process of Osmosis. The evaporation of water through the leave's
stomata causes a transpiration stream, causing the water to be drawn
up through the xylem vessels.

Whether the water enters by Osmosis will depend on the balance between
external and internal solute and water potentials. If the solutions on
each side of the partially permeable membrane have the same water
potential, then there will be no net movement of water molecules
across the membrane.

The concentration of solute particles is described as molarity. One
mole of any substance is the mass of 6.02 x 1023 particles of any

If a plant was exposed to a waterlogged environment, with the external
solute concentration to the cell being hypotonic to the vacuole
contents, the cell will not continue to take in water by osmosis
forever. This is because the cellulose wall provides a rigid barrier
to uncontrolled expansion. A cell, when it is full of water, is
described as turgid, and cannot expand as the inward force of the
starched wall balances the outward pressure on the cell contents. This
wall pressure is called...

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