When a beetroot cell is exposed to various kinds of temperatures, its plasma membrane is affected and may change in structure resulting in the leaking of betacyanin. If the temperature changes, then I would expect to observe that there would be a change in the concentration of betacyanin that has leaked from a beetroot cell. In specific, at high temperatures, the phospholipids that make up the plasma membrane of the beet root cell become progressively more destabilized causing them to transform into a liquid state. As this occurs, the plasma membrane ruptures allowing the betacyanin pigment to leak out. This is why we would expect to see a higher concentration of betacyanin leakage at higher temperatures. As the results of this lab indicate, as temperature increases, the plasma membranes of beet root cells (that were immersed in high temperatures of water) became damaged, allowing for more betacyanin to leak out resulting in a higher concentration of the pigment.
What was unexpected, however, was that at -5ºC, the amount of betacyanin that leaked from the beetroot cell was higher than any of the other temperatures that were used to measure betacyanin concentration. This result does not support my hypothesis. But, it illustrates how temperatures that are far from ideal growing conditions for beetroot (around 15ºC to 19ºC) may result in a larger leakage of betacyanin from the beetroot (Nottingham 2004). The rest of the results support my original hypothesis, which explained how high temperatures affect the form of the phospholipids, which in turn change the structure of the plasma membrane. But, the entire set of results support a new idea that the farther that temperature strays from ideal beet root temperatures, the more damage is done to the membrane of a beet root cell, which in turn causes more betacyanin leakage.
Courtney from Study Moose
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