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The Effects Of Varying, Extreme Temperatures And Varying Organic Solvents On A Beet Root Cell Membrane

763 words - 4 pages

One of the main structures of a biotic cell is a cell membrane which is produced from a phospholipid (Reece et al., 2011). When a huge number of phospholipids, each comprising a hydrophilic head and a hydrophobic tail, gather, they rearrange into what is known as a Fluid Mosaic plasma membrane (Reece et al., 2011). This membrane is always in motion and the mosaic created is due to the proteins within the membrane (Reece et al., 2011). Additionally, the membrane is also selectively permeable which means that not every substance moves across the membrane (Reece et al., 2011). Factors such as the polarity of a molecule and the relative size of the molecule greatly affect the rate of dispersion through the plasma membrane (Bio. Sciences Dept., 2013). Transport proteins also affect the rate of dispersion, since they allow small, nonpolar molecules such as water to diffuse quickly into membrane and leaving large, polar, carbon-chained molecules to be diffused across much slower because they are handled by other carrier proteins (Reece et al., 2011; Bio. Sciences Dept., 2013).
The significance of these hydrophobic molecules is that once they are dissolved into the nonpolar region, they may negatively affect the membrane from within, which is what we observed from our lab experiment when varying organic solvents were tested on the beet cells (Bio. Sciences Dept., 2013). The solvent which caused the most damage was the 2-propanol, which resulted in the greatest betacyanin (red pigment in beets) leakage when submerged in that alcohol (Bio. Sciences Dept., 2013). This can be explained because it is the longest chained alcohol when compared to the others that were used in the experiment (Bio. Sciences Dept., 2013). It is theorized that the cell membrane is significantly reformed following the attachment of the 2-propanol to the membrane phospholipids. (Wanderlingh et al., 2010). This change in the membrane could be related to the high amount of leakage recorded by the spectrophotometer, as these changes could rupture the plasma membrane if a sufficient amount of the alcohol is present (Wanderlingh et al., 2010).
The other variable which we chose to test on the beet cells was the effect of extreme temperatures (varying from -20º C to 70º C) on the cell membrane (Bio. Sciences Dept., 2013). Studies have shown that the...

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