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Experiment: Measurement And Analysis Of Cellular Respiration

Cellular respiration is a process that occurs in many organisms. The rate of cellular respiration can be measured using several different methods.

a) design a specific experiment to measure the rate of cellular respiration in an organism of your choice

b) construct a graph to report your results and graph the results that you would expect in your experiment

c) explain the significance of your results

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Experiment to Measure the Rate of Cellular Respiration

This is a classic experiment that works really well. The organism of choice is the garden pea, Pisum sativum.


Soak some dry pea seeds overnight in water to begin the germination process.

Leave other peas dry.

Place an equivalent number of pea seeds of each type into a large test tube. About 40 should be fine.

Label the tube containing the soaked, germinated seeds "Tube 1." The tube containing dry seeds will be called "Tube 2."

Since the height of the peas in Tube 2 will be considerably less than the height of the peas in Tube 1 (because peas swell when germinating), add glass beads to the top of the dry seeds to match the height of the peas in Tube 1. This is important to keep the inside volume of the two tubes as similar as possible.

Place a small amount of cotton swab over the top of the peas in Tube 1, and over the top of the peas/beads in Tube 2.

Place a little bit of KOH (potassium hydroxide) on top of the cotton swab. The purpose of this KOH is to absorb the CO2 given off during respiration. Remember, cellular respiration utilizes O2 and produces CO2. In this experiment, we will be measuring oxygen utilization as an indicator of aerobic cellular respiration. ...