Case Study (Too Much of a Good Thing)

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  • Topic: Cell wall, Solution, Eukaryote
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  • Published : November 26, 2012
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Benjamin Foster
Physiology
10/23/2012
Case Study 1 (Too much of a good thing))

The definition of OSMOSIS is the movement of a solvent through a membrane separating two solutions of different concentrations. The solvent from the side of weaker concentration usually moves to the side of the stronger concentration, diluting it, until the concentrations of the solutions are equal on both sides of the membrane. Michael made numerous mistakes in this story that caused the corn fields to die. The first mistake Michael made was to add the additional fertilizer to the crops. The extra fertilizer around the roots of the corn produced a hypertonic environment. The cells lost water because of the excessive fertilizer. The extra fertilizer caused the cell to turn hypertonic to the plant cell. This made the water diffuse from the plant cells into the soil by the process of OSMOSIS and the cells began to get smaller. The water would have eventually left the cells completely, which would have caused the plant cell to eventually die.

Michael’s second mistake is that he didn’t remove the extra fertilizer. In theory, if he would have removed the extra fertilizer and add extra water, he could have possibly saved the crops. People generally water their plants with only water which creates a isotonic environment around the roots of the plants and permits the plant roots to draw up minerals through the soil faster and easier for absorption without the intrusion of added solutes (extra fertilizer) which may slow the absorption process or even refrain the cells from absorbing the water and minerals through the roots.
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