Turgor Pressure: Salt Water and Potatoes A Quick Investigation
This week my students are investigating tropisms and Turgor Pressure- Plants have water in their cell vacuoles, the water pushes (like a force) on the cell membrane and cell wall creating a type of pressure which makes the cell kind of stiff or rigid.
This type of pressure is called turgor pressure, enabling the plant (or stem) to stand upright. Lack of water will cause a drop in turgor pressure, causing the plant to wilt and die. How can we test this in a quick fashion?
Students demonstrated turgor pressure by using salt water and distilled water and potato slices. They got the mass of the potato before and after soaking as well as measuring firmness by snapping the potato slice in half (fresh water) or bending it (salt water) demonstrating the loss of turgor pressure by the salt water. A hands-on way for students to physically observe osmosis in plants.