Measuring the rate of oxygen uptake.
Objectives : 1. To demonstrate the uptake of oxygen in respiration. 2. To measure the rate at which an organism respires. 3. To learn how to set up the apparatus for respirometers.
Introduction : Respirometer A respirometer is a device that been used to measure the rate of respiration of a living organism. This can be measured by calculating the rate of exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. A simple respirometer designed to measure oxygen uptake or CO2 release consists of a sealed container with the living specimen together with a substance to absorb the carbon dioxide given off during respiration, such as soda lime pellets or cotton wads soaked with potassium hydroxide. The oxygen uptake is detected by displacement of coloured liquid in a thin glass U-tube connected to the container. When the organism takes in oxygen it gives off an equal volume of carbon dioxide. The soda lime or KOH will absorbed this carbon dioxide therefore air will be sucked in from the manometer to keep the pressure constant. The rate of changes gives a direct and reasonably accurate reading for the organism's rate of respiration.Whether measuring a whole organism or a sample, a respirometer needs to be sealed to collect valid information. The environment inside the respirometer is tightly controlled and monitored to collect data without causing injury to the organism being studied. These devices must be carefully monitored during use to avoid creating a dangerous situation inside the respirometer. If the space becomes filled with metabolic wastes, the organism may not be able to breathe, and conversely, if the organism uses up substances such as oxygen, it will be in danger. Tight controls of the environment ensure that the pressure in the manometer is under control.
Respiration The term respiration has two relatively distinct meanings in biology. First, respiration is the process by which an organism takes oxygen into