What is the effect of temperature on membrane permeability on beetroot as measured by absorbency of pigment?

Essay by sarahchowHigh School, 10th grade November 2014

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Research Question

What is the effect of temperature on membrane permeability on beetroot as measured by absorbance of pigment?

Background Knowledge

Membrane permeability is affected by the structure of the membrane. Within the membrane, there is cholesterol and proteins maintaining the structure of the fluid mosaic plasma membrane within the globular structure. When proteins denature, it affects the structure of the cell membrane and its permeability increases. Many factors can cause protein or cholesterol to denature, for example the pH levels and temperature.

Personal Engagement

I'm a baker and have always despised overly processed artificial food coloring. My next project involves creating vegan red velvet cupcakes and I want them to contain natural coloring. I believe my red velvet cupcakes should be inundated with the same strong red passion I have for beetroots, baking and biology, so I have decided to find the optimum temperature that can diffuse the most vivid red pigment I can squeeze out of my beetroot in exactly 10 minutes.


When the temperature increases (from 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70°c) the color absorbency measurement will increase. The higher the temperature, the faster the rate the proteins will denature due to the high energy created by the particles vibrating very quickly. The denaturing of the proteins will cause the structure of the membrane to be more and more permeable as the temperature rises, allowing more red pigment to diffuse out of the beetroot disc. The more pigment, the higher the color absorbency.


o Independent - The temperature of the water bath

o Dependent - Color absorbency of the beetroot pigment


Procedure that will ensure the variable is controlled

pH level

Water from the same beaker will be used in each tube

Time take in water bath

Each tube of water will be timed...