Investigating Osmosis: Effect of Salt Concentration on Osmosis in Cucumber Cells


  • Amy Li
  • Vanessa Rizzo
  • Maggie Yang


The phenomenon of osmosis causing water to travel across selectively permeable
barriers in order to balance solute concentrations across barriers is an important feature
in biological environments (Lodish, Berk, & Zipursky, 2000). The objective of the lab was
to determine how different molar concentrations of salt solutions containing cucumber
slices will affect the amount of osmosis occurring between cucumber cells and their
surrounding environment. We hypothesized that if there is a higher concentration of salt
solution inside the cell, then the mass of the cucumber will decrease because the salt
concentration in the surrounding environment is greater than the salt concentration
within the cell, causing water to flow out of the cell via osmosis. The experiment was
conducted by placing slices of cucumber in water in 0.0M, 0.25M, 0.50M, 0.75M, and
1.0M salt concentrations and calculating the percent change in mass for use in
statistical analysis. One-way ANOVA was performed and yielded a statistically
significant p-value less than 0.0001, which allowed us to reject the null hypothesis. This
indicates that as salt concentration increases, the mass of the cucumbers decreases as
a result.