27 May 2022


The Effect of Carbon Chain Length of Alcohol and Alcohol Concentration on the Structure of Plasma Membrane and Tonoplast of Beta vulgaris

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Academic level: High School

Paper type: Essay (Any Type)

Words: 345

Pages: 2

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This paper investigated how different carbon chain lengths and the different concentration of alcohol affect plasma membrane structure and tonoplast of Beta vulgaris . The purpose of this environment was derived from the environmental problem that arises from the usage of rubbing alcohol. This paper is an abstract reflecting the paper on the same topic.

Alcohol rubbing is a method of getting rid of bacteria and pests from crops to enhance their effectual growth. However, rubbing alcohol on plants has also been found to have a damaging effect on the plants, specifically with regards to their tonoplast and plasma membrane structure. This is because there is a disruption in the structures through the leaking of vacuolar pigments within the tonoplast. Pigment leakage is thus equivalent to the amount of alcohol rubbed on the plant. The damage can thus be quantified based on the amount of alcohol rubbed.

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In this experiment, the effect of alcohol rubbing on Beta vulgaris was tested by obtaining a sample of 1cm x 1cm x 1cm submerged in different samples of alcohol. One sample was submerged under methanol, another under ethanol and propanol – all alcohols of one, two and three carbon chains. Additionally, the samples were submerged under samples of different concentration. The pigment leakage was thus measured using a spectrophotometer. 

The spectrophotometer uses the absorbance of light as an indicator to determine the amount of plant pigment leaked. Therefore, the higher absorbance levels, the more the color and therefore the more pigment leakage occurring. The results from the experiment showed that 25% alcohol concentration resulted in the highest leakage. Furthermore, propanol resulted in the largest amount of damage to the plasma membrane of the samples, since these two indicators showed the highest amounts of light absorbance. The hypothesis of the paper was thus supported. The increase in carbon chain length results in higher damage to the plasma membrane. This was explained through the binding of larger non-polar carbon chains with the phospholipid layers, which are also non-polar. This binding process leads to a larger opening within the membrane and additional disturbances within it. With a rendered random error of 1.40% and a standard deviation of 0.04 or lower, the experiment was found to have the highest possible level of accuracy in determining the effect of alcohol rubbing on plant membrane samples. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 16). The Effect of Carbon Chain Length of Alcohol and Alcohol Concentration on the Structure of Plasma Membrane and Tonoplast of Beta vulgaris.


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