Biology 212Laboratory 2:Membranes and DiffusionBackgroundOdds are you have learned about diffusion and osmosis a few times beforebut that doesnt mean we shouldntrevisit these topics. It turns out there is an extraordinary amount of cellular energy devoted to regulating thesetwo processes. Cells are literally filled with protein-based highways that allow for the movement of moleculespackaged up in vesicles (membrane bubbles), far more filled than any picture youve seen lets you imagine.Given this simple fact, lets look at these processes a bit more.DiffusionPhysics tells us a lot of what we need to know in this case. Following laws of thermodynamics, everythingmoves until we reach a particular temperature, absolute zero, at which pointother things happen. Thismovement is at random, thanks to some physics ideas, and we know that there is definitely an energycomponent.Sometimes that energy component is easy to see lets add electricity during electrophoresis but sometimesits not as obvious. There is energy associated with concentrations, or how much stuff you pack into a space.We can measure concentrations with various units you learned in chemistry. Sometimes the energy source isfrom a cellular molecule, such as ATP, which needs to undergo a chemical reaction in order to be accessed.There could be pressure gradients (gradient: difference), too. Thats wind! All of these processes involve aconcept called free energy, which is ...
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