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Minnie (Sasi Ounpiyodom) 1002

Osmosis Lab- Introduction

According to Lagass (2012), osmosis and dialysis are of prime importance


in living organisms, where they influence the distribution of nutrients and the
release of metabolic waste products. Osmosis is one of the vital processes of
membrane transport, a movement of molecules in and out of cells phospholipid
bilayer. These include; ions, polar, nonpolar, large and small molecules.
Membrane transport can be classified under two types, active and passive.
Active transport is the movement of solutes from low to high concentration
gradient using energy. In contrary, passive transport allows solutes to move from
high to low concentration gradient naturally. A concentration gradient is a
concept in which there are particles of different concentration in two areas.
Passive transport can be divided into three types; simple diffusion, facilitated
diffusion and osmosis. In this lab, I will be focusing on osmosis, a process in
which water or solvent moves from an area with lower to higher solute
concentration through a partially permeable membrane. For example, water
particles from fresh water will move to the area with salt water. Until they reach
equilibrium, the stage where there is equal solute concentration throughout the
solution. A solution can be divided into three types of tonicity; hypertonic,
hypotonic and isotonic. Tonicity refers to the ability of an extracellular solution to
make water move into or out of a cell by osmosis (Osmosis and tonicity, n.d.).
A hypertonic solution has more solute concentration than the fluid inside the cell,
contrarily a hypotonic solution has less solute concentration. Isotonic solution
has an equal amount of solute concentration as the cellular fluid.

In this lab, I will be simulating osmosis by soaking two objects; a jelly and
a piece of potato each in a hypotonic (distilled water) and hypertonic (salt water)
solution for about an hour. Then, I will observe each ones differences before and
after soaking. These include their mass, volume and physical appearance. The
jellies and potatoes will represent animal cells and plant cells respectively. As to
simulate the whole process of osmosis, I will use both the jelly and the potato to
see if each ones composition affects the rate of their osmosis or not. The
distilled water is a hypotonic solution comparing to both the jelly and potato. The
salt water is a hypertonic solution comparing to the jelly and potato. This
experiment will clearly represent the process of osmosis that is currently
happening to our cells in the same way.

Reference:
Lagass, P. (2012). Biological Importance of Osmosis. Retrieved from
http://www.infoplease.com/encyclopedia/science/osmosis-biological-importance-
osmosis.html
Osmosis and tonicity. (n.d.). Retrieved from
https://www.khanacademy.org/science/biology/membranes-and-
transport/diffusion-and-osmosis/a/osmosis