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Hello, this is the summary of AS level Biology (CIE) for 2015 Exam.
As references, I am using the books:

Cambridge International A/AS-level Biology Revision Guide by Mary Jones

Cambridge International A/AS-level Biology course book third edition by Mary Jones

and other resources from Internet.

Credits to authors of pictures and video used for illustration purpose on this blog.

Happy revising and good luck!



#01. Microscopy
Most cells are very small, and their structures can only be seen by using a microscope.

1. Light microscopes

 light rays pass through the specimen on

a slide

 focused by an objective lens and

an eyepiece lens.

 ---> magnified image of the specimen on

the retina of your eye/screen/camera.

2. Electron microscopes

 uses beams of electrons

 specimen very thin, placed in a vacuum to allow electrons to pass through it.
 electrons are focused onto a screen/photographic film ---> magnified image of
the specimen.

3. Magnification and Resolution

 Amount of magnification depends on the resolution of the microscope (ability to

distinguish 2 objects as separate).

 The smaller the objects that can be distinguished --> the higher the resolution.

 wavelength: beam of electrons <<< light

resolution: electron microscope >>> light microscope

 with electron microscope, we can see much more fine detail of a cell.

Units: millimetre, micrometre, nanometre


4. Magnification calculations

Work out the real size of an object knowing the magnification:

a. This drawing of a mitochondrion has been magnified 100 000 times.

• Use ruler to measure its length in mm (50 mm).

• Convert this measurement to µm by multiplying by 1 000.

50 x 1 000 = 50 000 µg

• Substitute into the equation:

b. This is a the drawing of a chloroplast:

- The magnification for this drawing:

- The length of the chloroplast:

• Measure the length of the image in mm (80 mm) and convert to µm ---> 80 000 µm.

• Calculate its real length:


5. Measuring cells using a graticule

 Eyepiece graticule is a little scale bar placed in the eyepiece of light microscope.
 The graticule is marked off in 'graticule units'.
 Turn the eyepiece so that the graticule scale lies over the object: the width of one
cell is 23 graticule units.

Calibration: the conversion of graticule units into real units (mm, µm).

 use a special slide called a stage micrometer that is marked off in a tiny scale. The
smallest markings are often 0.01 mm (10 µg) apart.

 Take the specimen off the stage or the microscope and replace it with the stage
micrometer. Use the same objective lens.

 Line up the micrometer scale and the eyepiece graticule scale (by turning
the eyepiece and moving the micrometer on the stage). Make sure that 2 large
markings on each scale are lined up.

 The 50 mark (stage micrometer) is lined up with the 1.0 mark (eyepiece graticule).

 Work towards the right until you see another two lines lined up.

 The 68 mark (stage micrometer) is lined up with the 9.0 mark (eyepiece graticule).
So you can say that:

80 small eyepiece graticule markings = 18 stage micrometer markings

= 18 x 0.01 mm = 0.18 mm
= 180 µm
so 1 small eyepiece graticule marking = 180: 80 = 2.25 µm

 The plant cell was 23 eyepiece graticule units long --> its real width is: 23 x 2.25 =
51.75 µm

#02. Cell structure and function

Describe and interpret drawings and photographs of typical animal and plant cells. Note
that plant cells are always surrounded by a cell wall made of cellulose, never found around
animal cells.

Typical animal and plant cells as seen using an electron microscope:

1. Functions of membrane systems and organelles

 The plasma membrane (cell surface membrane) controls what enters and leaves
the cell.

 Many membranes within the cell help to make different compartments for different
chemical reactions to take place.

 The nucleus is surrounded by nuclear envelope (pair of membranes).

 The nucleus contains chromosomes, with very long molecule of DNA (DNA
determines the sequences of amino acids to form protein molecules).

 A darker area in the nucleus (no membrane) is called nucleolus: here new
ribosomes are made, following a code on part of the DNA.

 Ribosomes (made of RNA & protein) are found free in the cytoplasm + attached
to rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER).

 The RER is network of membranes in the cytoplasm. The membranes enclose small
spaces called cisternae.

1. Ribosomes on the RER produce proteins by linking amino acids. The growing
chains of amino acids move into the cisternae.
2. The cisternae break off to form little vesicles that travel to the Golgi apparatus.
3. Golgi apparatus modifies the proteins (by adding carbohydrate groups...).
4. Vesicles containing modified proteins break away from Golgi apparatus and move
to the cell surface membrane---> secreted from the cell by exocytosis, releasing proteins.

The transport of vesicules.

 Smooth endoplasmic reticulum (SER)

- less extensive (than RER)

- no ribosomes attached
- cisternae more flattened
- involved in the synthesis of steroid hormones and the breakdown of toxins.

 Mitochondria

- have an envelope: outer membrane + inner membrane (folded to form cristae).

- here aerobic respiration takes place ---> ATP.
the first stage(Krebs cycle) - in the matrix;
the final stage (oxidative phosphorylation) - on cristae's membranes.


 Lysosomes

- little packages of hydrolytic (digestive) enzymes with membrane

- form by breaking off from Golgi apparatus

- to digest food taken into the cell

- to digest bacteria/other cells taken into the cell by phagocytosis
- to break down unwanted/damaged organelles within the cell.

 Centrioles

- found only in animal cells, not plant cells

- 2 centrioles lie at right angles to each other
- made of microtubules, arranged in a circular pattern

- microtubules form the spindle during cell division in animal cells.


 Chloroplasts

- found only in some plant cells

- surrounded by an envelope of 2 membranes
- the background material (stroma) contains many paired membranes (thylakolds).
- thylakolds form stacks called grana (contain chlorophyll---> absorbs energy from
- may contain starch grains (from sugars produced in photosynthesis).

In photosynthesis:
- first reactions (lightdependent reactions and photophosphorylation) take place on the
- the final stages (Calvin cycle) take place in the stroma.

Longitudinal section through a chloroplast.


#03. Plan diagrams of tissue and organ, prokaryotic and eukariotic cells

An organ usually contains many different types of cells. These are arranged in a particular
pattern characteristic of the organ, with cells of a similar type found together, forming
distinctive tissues.

A plan diagram shows the distribution of tissues in an organ, not individual cells.

A cross section of leaf, stem and root.


Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes

There are only 2 basic types of cells, primitive prokaryotes and the more complex

 Prokaryotic cells (Pro=“before”, karyon = “nucleus”) are evolutionarily ancient. They

were here first and for billions of years were the only form of life. Today most life is
prokaryotic, and these cells are supremely successful. All bacteria and bacteria-
like Archaea are prokaryotic organisms.

 Eukaryotes (Eu=“true”, karyon= “nucleus”) can be single celled or multi-cellular

organisms. Eukaryotic cells are more complex, having evolved from a prokaryote-like
predecessor. Most of the living things that we are typically familiar with are
composed of eukaryotic cells: animals, plants, fungi and protists.

Prokaryotic cells

 much smaller
 no membrane-bound nucleusor other membrane-bound organelles. The only
membrane is the plasma membrane.
 the genetic material is naked within the cytoplasm
 ribosomes are the only type of organelle

Eukaryotic cells

The main structure:

 a double membrane-bound nucleus separates the genetic material from the rest of
the cell.
 an endomembrane system composed of different membrane-bound organelles that
transport materials around the cell: the rough and smooth endoplasmic reticulum,
Golgi apparatus and vesicles.
 energy producing organelles: mitochondria and chloroplasts, involved in metabolism
and energy conversion.

Comparison of prokaryotic, animal and plant cells


#04. Summary of Cell structure

The basic unit of life, the cell, can be seen clearly only with the aid of microscopes.
The light microscope uses light as a source of radiation, whereas the electron microscope
uses electrons.

 The electron microscope has greater resolution (allows more detail to be seen) than
the light microscope, because electrons have a shorter wavelength than light.

 With a light microscope, cells may be measured using an eyepiece graticule and a
stage micrometer.

 Using the formula A= I/M, the actual size of an object (A) or its magnification (M) can
be found if its observed (image) size (I) is measured and A or M, as appropriate, is

 All cells are surrounded by a partially permeable cell surface membrane that controls
exchange between the cell and its environment.

 All cells contain genetic material in the form of DNA, and ribosomes for protein

 The simplest cells are prokaryotic cells, which are thought to have evolved before,
and given rise to the much more complex and much larger eukaryotic cells.

 Prokaryotic cells lack a true nucleus and have smaller ribosomes than eukaryotic
cells. They also lack membrane-bound organelles. Their DNA is circular and lies
naked in the cytoplasm.

 All eukaryotic cells possess a nucleus containing one or more nucleoli and DNA. The
DNA is linear and bound to proteins to form chromatin. The cytoplasm contains
many membrane-bound organelles providing separate compartments for specialised
activities (division of labour). Organelles include endoplasmic reticulum (ER), 80S
ribosomes, mitochondria, Golgi apparatus and lysosomes. Animal cells also contain
centrioles. Plant cells also contain chloroplasts, often have a large, permanent,
central vacuole and have a cell wall containing cellulose. In eukaryotes, cells may be
further organised into tissues, organs and systems.

1. Multiple - Choice Test

1 Which type of membrane would be present in the largest quantity in a prokaryotic


A cell surface membrane

B mitochondrial cristae
C nuclear envelope
D smooth endoplasmic reticulum

2 Which type of cell would contain the greatest relative numbers of mitochondria?

A bacterial cell
B mesophyll cell
C muscle cell
D parenchyma cell

3 In a cell that is specialised for secreting protein, which of the following would be
present in relatively large amounts?

A cell surface membrane

B Golgi vesicles
C lysosomes
D smooth endoplasmic reticulum

4 Which structure could be described as a microtubule-organising centre?

A centriole
B Golgi apparatus
C nucleus
D spindle

5 What are microtubules made of?

A cellulose
C lipid
D protein

6 Which structure could be found in a plant cell but not in a prokaryotic cell?

A 20 nm ribosomes
B cell surface membrane
C circular DNA
D thylakoid

7 Which organelle makes lysosomes?

A Golgi apparatus
B nucleus
C ribosome
D smooth endoplasmic reticulum

8 A protein that is to be secreted from a cell would pass through a sequence of cell
organelles in the following order:

A Golgi apparatus → rough endoplasmic reticulum → secretory vesicle

B Golgi apparatus → secretory vesicle → rough endoplasmic reticulum
C rough endoplasmic reticulum → Golgi apparatus → secretory vesicle
D secretory vesicle → Golgi apparatus → rough endoplasmic reticulum

9 A scientist calibrating an eyepiece graticule would notice what change when

switching from a low-power lens to a high-power lens?

A The eyepiece units would appear closer together.

B The eyepiece units would appear further apart.
C The stage micrometer units would appear closer together.
D The stage micrometer units would appear further apart.

10 What explains the fact that an increase in the voltage used in a transmission
electron microscope results in an increase in the resolution obtained?

A The electromagnetic lenses function more efficiently.

B Increasing the voltage increases the magnification.
C The electron beam can penetrate the specimen more easily.
D The wavelength of the electrons is shortened.

Answers to Multiple choice test

1 A, 2 C, 3 B, 4 A, 5 D, 6 D, 7 A, 8 C, 9 D, 10 D

2. End-of-chapter questions

1.Which one of the following cell structures can be seen with a light microscope?

A. mitochondrion
B. ribosome
C rough ER
D smooth ER

2. The use of electrons as a source of radiation in the electron microscope allows high
resolution to be achieved because electrons:

A are negatively charged.

B can be focused using electromagnets.
C have a very short wavelength.
D travel at the speed of light.

3. Which one of the following structures is found in animal cells, but not in plant cells?

A centriole
B chloroplast
C Golgi apparatus
D cell surface membrane

4. Copy an complete the following table, which compares light microscopes with electron
microscopes. Some boxes have been filled in for you.

Feature Light Electron

microscope microscope
Source of radiation
Wavelength of About 0.005 nm
Maximum resolution 0.5 nm in practice
Lenses Glass
Specimen Non-leaving or dead
Stains Coloured dyes
image coloured

5. List ten structures you could find in an electron micrograph of an animal cell which would
be absent form the cell of a bacterium.

6. Advice on answering question 6: If you are asked to distinguish between two things, it
is likely that it is because they have certain things in common and that they may even be
confused with each other. In your answer it is helpful where relevant to point out similarities
a well as differences. Remember that for organelles there may be differences in both
structure and function.

Distinguish between the following pairs of terms:

a magnification and resolution

b light microscope and electron microscope
c nucleus and nucleolus
d chromarin and chromosome
e membrane and envelope
f smootth ER and rough ER
g prokaryote and eukaryote
h tissue and organ (include one example of each in an animal and in a plant)
i xylem and phloem
j epidermis and epithelium
k palisade mesophyll and spongy mesophyll

7. List:
a three organelles each lacking a boundary membrane
b three organelles each bounded by a single membrane
c three organelles each bounded by two membranes (an envelope).

8. Identify each cell structure or organelle from its description below.

a manufactures lysosomes
b manufactures ribosomes
c site of protein synthesis
d can bud off vesicles which form the Golgi apparatus
e can transport newly synthesised protein round the cell
f manufactures ATP in animal and plant cells
g controls the activity of the cell, because it contains the DNA
h carries out photosynthesis
i can act as a starting point for the growth of spindle microtubules during cell division

j contains chromatin
k partially permeable barrier only about 7 nm thick

1 organelle about 25 nm in diameter

9. The electron micrograph shows part of a secretory cell from the pancreas. The
secretory vesicles are Golgi vesicles and appear as dark round structures. The
magnification is x 8 000.

a Copy and complete the table. Use a ruler to help you find the actual sizes of the
structures. Give your answers in micro metres.

Structure Observed diameter (measured wit Actual si

h ruler) ze

maximum diameter of a Golgi vesicle

maximum diameter of nucleus
maximum length of the labelled mitoc

b Make a fully labelled drawing of representative parts of the cell. You do not have to draw
everything, but enough to show the structures of the main organelles. Use a full page of
plain paper and a sharp pencil. Use Figures 1.16 and 1.17 in this book and the
simplified diagram in d below to help you identify the
structures. [14]

c The mitochondria in pancreatic cells are mostly sausage-shaped in

three dimensions. Explain why some of the mitochondria in
the EM appear roughly circular.
d The figure below shows a diagram based on an electron micrograph of a secretory cell
from the pancreas.

This type of cell is specialised for secreting (exporting) proteins. Some of

the proteins are digestive enzymes of the pancreatic juice. The cell is
very active, requiring a lot of energy. The arrows show the route taken by the protein
i Describe briefly what is happening at each of the stages A, B, C and D. [8]
ii Name one molecule or structure which leaves the nucleus by route E. [1]
iii Through which structure must the molecule or structure you named in ii pass to
get through the
nuclear envelope? [1]
iv Name the molecule which leaves the mitochondrion in order to
provide energy for this cell.

[Total: 35]
10. One technique used to investigate the activity of cell organelles is
called differential centrifugation. In this technique, a tissue is homogenised (ground in a
blender), placed in tubes and spun in a centrifuge. This makes
organelles sediment (settle) to the bottom of
the tubes. The larger the organelles, the faster they sediment. By repeating the process at
faster speeds, the organelles can be separated from each other according to size.
Some liver tissue was treated in this way to
separate ribosomes, nuclei and mitochondria. The centrifuge was spun at 1000g, 10 000g
or 100 000g ('g' is gravitational force).

a In which of the three sediments - 1000 g, 10 000 g or 100 000 g -

would you expect to find the following?
i ribosomes
ii nuclei
iii mitochondria

b Liver tissue contains many lysosomes. Suggest why this makes it difficult to
study mitochondria using the differential centrifugation technique.

Answers to end of chapter questions

1 A, 2 C, 3 A

5 nucleus; (smooth) endoplasmic reticulum; rough endoplasmic reticulum; 25

nm/larger/80S ribosomes; linear/non-circular DNA; chromatin/chromosome(s); lysosome(s);
Golgi apparatus; mitochondrion/mitochondria; centriole(s); vacuole(s); microvilli; cilium/cilia;
nucleolus/nucleoli; nuclear envelope; nuclear pore(s);

a magnification is the number of times larger an image is compared with the real size of the
resolution is the ability to distinguish between two separate points/the greater the
resolution, the
greater the detail that can be seen; a statement linking the terms, such as both terms used
with reference to microscopy;

b light microscope uses light as a source of radiation; electron microscope uses electrons
as a source of radiation;

c both organelles/both found in eukaryotic cells; nucleolus is located inside nucleus;

nucleus controls cell activity; nucleolus makes ribosomes;

d chromatin and chromosomes both contain DNA (and protein/histones)/both found in

chromatin is the loosely coiled form of chromosomes; chromatin is the form that exists
between cell/nuclear divisions; chromosomes are formed just before/during, cell/nuclear

e an envelope consists of two membranes (one just inside/outside the other); a membrane
is a thin (partially permeable) barrier found around cells and some organelles; example of at
least one organelle surrounded by an envelope is given; membranes found in/around all
cells, envelopes only in eukaryotes;

f both consist of flattened membrane-bound sacs; both found spreading through cytoplasm
eukaryotic cells; smooth ER lacks ribosomes, rough ER has ribosomes on surface; one
function of smooth ER given, e.g. makes lipids/steroids;rough ER transports proteins made
by ribosomes
on its surface;

g prokaryotes have no nucleus, eukaryotes have nucleus; prokaryotes are

smaller/simpler;prokaryotes have few organelles, eukaryotes have many organelles, some

membrane-bound/ compartmentalisation/more division of labour; eukaryotes evolved from


h tissue is a group of cells specialised for a particular function; one animal and one plant
example given; organ is a group of tissues specialised for a particular function; one animal
and one plant example given;

i both found in plants; both (complex) tissues; both vascular tissues/involved in (long
transport; xylem transports water and mineral salts; phloem transports organic

j both are tissues; both cover/protect surfaces; epidermis in plants, epithelium in animals;
epidermis one cell thick, epithelium one or more cells thick; epidermis may be covered with
(waxy) cuticle;

k mesophyll cells are found in leaves; palisade is upper layer/just below (upper)
epidermis/above spongy mesophyll/OR spongy mesophyll is below palisade mesophyll;
both contain chloroplasts/specialised for photosynthesis; palisade mesophyll cells are
spongy mesophyll cells are irregular/pack together loosely/have large intercellular air
palisade mesophyll cells have more chloroplasts/more photosynthesis; spongy mesophyll
cells allow gas exchange/circulation of carbon dioxide (for photosynthesis);

7 Any three appropriate organelles:

a e.g. nucleolus; ribosome; centriole;
b e.g. lysosomes; rough ER; smooth ER; Golgi apparatus;
c nucleus; mitochondrion; chloroplast;

8 a Golgi apparatus: b nucleolus; c ribosome; d ER/rough ER; e rough ER;

f mitochondrion;g nucleus;h chloroplast;i centriole;j nucleus;k membrane; l ribosome;

Exam-style questions

9 a 1 mark for each accurately measured ‗observed size‘ (to within ± 2 mm) and 1 mark for
each accurately calculated ‗actual size‘'
1 mark for applying the formula A= I/M
1 mark for measuring in mm and converting mm to μm for each calculation;
1 mark for rounding up actual size to no more than one decimal place; [9]

b quality of drawing:
sharp pencil used; more than half of available space used; clean, continuous lines/not
interpretation of structures accurate; representative parts of main organelles drawn,
including those below for which label marks are awarded; [5]

nucleus; nuclear envelope; nuclear pore;
nucleolus; rough ER; ribosome(s);
mitochondrion; crista or cristae; Golgi apparatus;
Golgi vesicle/secretory vesicle; [max. 9]

c mitochondria will appear circular if they are cut, in transverse section/across (the long
axis); [1]

d i A protein made on the ribosome is moving into the rough ER;

B rough ER buds off small vesicles; vesicles fuse to form the Golgi apparatus;
(therefore) protein moves into Golgi apparatus; protein may be modifi ed/processed inside
Golgi apparatus;
C Golgi apparatus buds off Golgi vesicles;
D Golgi vesicles travel to cell surface membrane; Golgi vesicle(s) fuses with cell surface
membrane; protein/enzyme leaves cell; exocytosis/secretion; [max. 8]
ii ribosome/messenger RNA; [1]
iii nuclear pore; [1]
iv ATP; [1]
[Total: 35]

10 a i 100 000 g
ii 1000 g
iii 10 000 g; [1]
b lysosomes are, similar in size to/slightly smaller than, mitochondria;
therefore sediment at same/similar, g force/speed;
therefore contaminate mitochondrial sample; AW
therefore cannot be sure whether eff ects
due to mitochondria or lysosomes in any experiments; [4] [Total: 5]


#05. Carbohydrates - Monosaccharides, disaccharides


- Sugar polymers
- Molecules contain C, H, O atoms
- H atoms are twice as many as C or O
atoms (C6H12O6)


 The simplest carbohydrates

 They are sugar: C = 3 = triose C = 4 = tetrose C = 5 =
pentose C = 6 = hexose
 Examples of hexose sugars: glucose, fructose, galactose
 Molecules often have the form of a ring, made up of
some C atoms and one O atom.

 Glucose molecules has 2 forms: α-glucose

and β-glucose.


 Different disaccharides can be formed by linking different monosaccharides. The

bond that joins them together = glycosidic bond.

 Condensation reactions (dehydration): 2 monosaccharides covalently joined;

H20 is formed.

 Hydrolysis reaction (splitting by water): disaccharides are split into 2

monosaccharides by breaking the glycosidic bond; a molecule of H20 is added.

Functions of monosaccharides and disaccharides

 Good sources of energy in living organisms, used in respiration for making ATP.
 Transportable through the body because of the solubility: glucose is transported
dissolved in blood plasma (animal), sucrose is transported in phloem sap (plant).
 All monosaccharides and some disaccharides are reducing sugars (reduce
blue Benedict's solution to produce an orange-red precipitate). Sucrose is a non-
reducing sugar.

#06. Carbohydrates – Polysaccharides

Molecules contain hundreds/thousands of monosaccharides linked into long chains.

Molecules are enormous --> the majority do not dissolve in water --> good for storing
energy (starch and glycogen) or for forming strong
structures (cellulose).

1. Storage Polysaccharides

Glycogen (in animals and fungi)

 Made of α-glucose molecules linked together

by glycosidic bonds.
 Most of the bonds are α1-4 links (C1 on one
glucose + C4 on the next)
 There are some 1-6 links, which form branches in the chain.
 The bonds can be hydrolysed by carbohydrase enzymes to form monosaccharides,
used in respiration.
 The branches increase the rate of hydrolysis.

1-4 and 1-6 links in Glycogen.

Starch (in plants)

 A mixture of amylose and amylopectin. Both forms of starch are polymers of α-

Glucose. Natural starches contain 10-20% amylose and 80-90% amylopectin.

 Amylose molecule is a very long chain with 1-4 links. The chain coils up into a
spiral, held in shape by H bonds between the glucose units.

 Amylopectin differs from amylose in being highly branched. Short side chains of
about 30 glucose units are attached with 1- 6 linkages approximately every 20-30
glucose units along the chain.

2. Structural polysaccharides

Plant cell walls contain the polysaccharide cellulose:

 Made of many β glucose molecules, linked by β 1-4 links.

 Adjacent glucose molecules in the chain are upside-down to one another.

 The chain is straight (not spiralling).

 H bonds between chains --> very strong microfibrils --> cell wall will not break
easily if the plant cell absorbs water; difficult to digest (few organisms have enzyme
that can break the β 1-4 bonds).

#07.Tests for carbohydrates

Tests for Reducing sugars, Non-reducing sugar and Starch.

1. Reducing sugar (Benedict's test)

 All monosaccharides and most disaccharides (except sucrose) will

reduce blue CuSO4(II), producing a precipitate of red Cu2O(I).
 Benedict‘s reagent is an aqueous solution of Cu SO4(II), Na2CO3 and sodium
 2 cm³ test solution + ≥ 2 cm³ Benedict‘s reagent.
 Shake, and heat for a few minutes at 95°C in a water bath.
 The mass of precipitate or intensity of the colour indicates the amount of reducing
sugar present ---> the test is semi-quantitative.

2. Non-reducing sugar (Benedict's test)


 Sucrose is a non-reducing sugar (not reduce CuSO4) ---> Benedict's test (-) .
 If it is hydrolysed to form glucose and fructose ---> Benedict's test (+) .
 So sucrose is the only sugar that will give a (-) Benedict's test before hydrolysis and
a (+) test afterwards.


 Test a sample for reducing sugars to be sure it does not contain reducing sugars.
 Boil the test solution with dilute HCl for a few minutes to hydrolyse the
glycosidic bond.
 Neutralise the solution by gently adding small amounts of solid NaHCO3 until it
stops fizzing.
 Test for reducing sugar.

3. Starch (Iodine test)

 2 cm³ of test solution + 2 drops of iodine/KI solution.

 A blue-black colour indicates the presence of starch as a starch-polyiodide complex
is formed.
 Starch is only slightly soluble in water, but the test works well in a suspension or as a

Additional resource:


#08. Lipids - Triglycerides and Phospholipids.


- Include triglycerides + phospholipids.

- Molecules contain C, H, O atoms
- Very small proportion of O.
- Insoluble in water.


- Made of glycerol 'backbone', attached to 3 fatty acids by ester bonds.

Fatty acids

 Have long chains of C and H atoms.

 Each C atom has 4 bonds: 2 to C atoms, 2 to H atoms.
 Sometime, only 1 H atom attached --> C atom has a 'spare' bond, attached to the
next-door C atom (also has 1 H bonded) ---> double bond.
 Unsaturated fatty acids has ≥ 1 C-C double bonds (do not contain quite as much
 Saturated fatty acids has no double bonds.

 Lipids containing unsaturated fatty acids ---> unsaturated lipids (in plant)

 Lipids containing completely saturated fatty acids ---> saturated lipids (in animal)
 Unsaturated lipids tend to have lower melting points than saturated lipids.

Triglycerides are insoluble in water ---> energy storage in plants, animals and fungi. They
contain more energy per gram than polysaccharides.
a. In mammals
Triglyceride are build up beneath the skin in the form of adipose tissue:

 It cells contain oil droplets of triglycerides;

 Helps to insulate body against heat loss.
 Relatively low density ---> ↑ buoyancy ---> useful for aquatic mammals living in cold
water (whales, seals).
 Forms a protective layer around organs (e.g. kidneys).

b.In plants
Triglycerides = major part of energy stores in seeds:

 Cotyledons (sunflower seeds...)

 Endosperm (castor beans...).

2. Phospholipids

 Made of glycerol 'backbone', 2 fatty acids and 1 phosphate group.


 Fatty acid chains are hydrophobic: no electrical charge ---> not attracted
to H2O molecules.
 Phosphate group is hydrophilic: has electrical charge ---> attracted
to H2O molecules.
 In H2O, phospholipid molecules arranges into a bilayer: hydrophilic heads
facing outwards into the water + hydrophobic tails facing inwards, avoiding water.
 This is the basic structure of a cell membrane.

3. Emulsion (Ethanol) test for lipids

 Dissolve the substance by mixing it with absolute

 Decant the ethanol into water.
 If lipids are present in the mixture, it will precipitates and
forms an milky emulsion.

A milky emulsion indicates the presence of lipid.


#09. Proteins - amino acids, peptid bonds

Proteins are large molecules made of long chains of amino acids.

1. Amino acids

All proteins have the same basic structure. They consist of

an Amino Group (NH2), an Carboxyl group (COOH), and
a Carbon in the middle which bonds with a Hydrogen atom
and an 'R' group, which is specific to individual amino acids.

There are 20 naturally occurring 'R' groups, making amino

acids neutral, acidic, alkaline, aromatic (has a ring structure) or
sulphur-containing). The 20 R groups corresponds to 20
different amino acids. Each different amino acid has a specific
name. For example, Alanine's 'R' group consists of CH3.

2. Peptid bonds

a. Condensation reaction:
2 amino acids are joined by a peptide bond ---> dipeptide + H2O.

b. Hydrolysis reaction: Dipeptides are split into 2 amino acids by breaking the peptide
bond using a molecule of H20.

#10. Protein - Primary, Secondary, Tertiary and Quaternary structure

Amino acids can be linked together in any order to form a long chain - polypeptide.
Protein molecules can be made up of the same polypeptides or different polypeptides.

1. Primary structure:

The sequence of amino acids in a polypeptide or protein molecule.

The 3 letters in each circle are the first 3 letters of the amino acid.

2. Secondary structure:

The way in which the primary structure of a polypeptide chain folds.

 After synthesis, polypeptide chains are folded or pleated into different

shapes: Alpha helix (regular 3D shape) and Beta-pleated sheet (twisted, pleated
 The helix is hold by many Hydrogen bonds between amino acids at different places
in the chain, giving the shape great stability.

The typical Alpha helix is about 11 amino acids long.


3. Tertiary structure:
The final 3D structure of a protein, involving coiling or pleating of the secondary

Tertiary structure.

Tertiary structure is held by:

1. Hydrogen Bonds - formed between amino acids at different points in the chain.
2. Disulphide Bonds - a strong double bond (S=S) formed between the Sulphur atoms
within the Cysteine monomers.
3. Ionic Bonds - formed between 2 oppositely charged 'R' groups (+ and -) found close
to each other.
4. Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions: amino acids may be hydrophobic or
hydrophilic; in a water based environment, the hydrophobic parts of globular protein
are orientated towards centre and the hydrophilic parts are towards edges.

4. Quaternary structure: ≥ 2 polypeptide chains join together to form a protein.

 Some proteins are made up of multiple polypeptide chains, sometimes with

an inorganic component (e.g. a haem group in haemoglogin) called a Prosthetic
Group. These proteins will only be able to function if all subunits are present.
 The polypeptide chains are held by the same type of bonds as in the tertiary

The tertiary and quaternary structures of a protein, and its properties, are determined by its
primary structure.

Additional sources: Some parts of the note are taken from A level Notes

#11. Globular and fibrous proteins - haemoglobin and collagen

Globular and Fibrous are 2 main types of proteins with a 3D structure.

1. Haemoglobin, a globular protein

 Composed of 2 α + 2 β polypeptide chains + 1 inorganic prosthetic haem group.

Hb's function: carry O2 from lungs to respiring tissues.


2. Collagen - a fibrous protein

 Composed of 3 polypeptide chains wound around each other. Each chain is a coil
itself of around 1000 amino acids.

 Structure strength is increased by forming:

- H bonds between the 3 polypeptide chains.

- Collagen molecules wrapped around each other ---> Collagen Fibrils
- Collagen Fibrils ---> Collagen Fibres.

Collagen's function: support and elasticity

in many animal tissues (human skin, bone and tendons).

3. Test for proteins

The Biuret Test shows the presence of peptide bonds, which are the basis for the
formation of proteins. These bonds will make the blue Biuret reagent turn purple.

Add biuret solution. A purple colour indicates the presence of protein.


# 12. Water
About 80% of the organism's body is H2O. Its molecule has
a small negative charge (β-) on the O atom
a small positive charge (β+) on each H atom.
This is called a dipole.
This makes H2O an excellent solvent.

Hydrogen bond = attraction between (β-) and (β+) parts of neighbouring H2O molecules.

Solvent properties of water

 The dipoles on H2O molecules make water an excellent solvent.

 If you stir NaOH into H2O, the Na+ and Cl- separate and spread between
the H2O molecules --> They dissolve in the water.
 The Cl- is attracted to the small (+) charge on the H of H2O molecules.
 The Na+ is attracted to the small (-) charge on the O of H2O molecules.

Any substance that has fairly small molecules with charges on them, or that can
separate into ions, can dissolve in water.

Being a good solvent, H2O helps:

- To transport substances around the bodies of organisms. The blood plasma of
mammals is mostly water, and carries many substances in solution: glucose, oxygen, ions
- To dissolve reactants ---> enable metabolic reactions.

Thermal properties of water

1. H2O is liquid at normal Earth to

 The H bonds between H2O molecules prevent them flying apart at normal to.
Between 0oC and 100oC, water is in the liquid state. The H2O molecules move
randomly, forming transitory H bonds with each other.
 Other substances with similar molecule structure, such as hydrogen sulfide (H 2S),
are gases at these to (no H bonds to attract their molecules to each other).

H2O and H2S molecules

have similar structure.

2. H2O has a high latent heat of evaporation

 When a liquid is heated, its molecules gain kinetic energy, moving faster + a lot of
heat energy is needed to break H bonds between water molecules. Those molecules
with the most energy are able to fly off into the air.

 When H2O evaporates, it absorbs a lot of heat from its surroundings ---> The
evaporation of H2O from the skin of mammals when they sweat and the
transpiration from plant leaves has a cooling effect.

3. H2O has a high specific heat capacity

 Specific heat capacity is the amount of heat energy that has to be added to a
given mass of a substance to raise its to by 1oC.
 The higher the kinetic energy the higher the to: a lot of energy is needed to
raise to (to ↑ speed of H2O molecules + break H bonds).

==> Bodies of H2O (oceans, lake) do not change to as easily as air does.
Bodies of organisms (with large amounts of H2O) do not change to easily.

4. H2O freezes from the top down

Most substances are more dense in solid form than liquid form and will sink if submerged in
their liquid state. But H2O is LESS dense in its solid state, and will float. This has to do with
the crystal structure of ice.

When water cools (to↓) the density of water ↑ (molecules lose kinetic energy, getting closer).
Below 4°C this trend is reversed: When H2O approaches freezing point, molecules form a
lattice and stretches its very elastic H bonds --> density↓ (lower than density at 4°C) --> Ice
floats on water.

The layer of ice acts as an insulator, slowing down the loss of heat from H2O beneath it,
which tends to remain at 4°C.

The H2O under the ice remains liquid, allowing organisms to continue to live in it even when
air temperatures are below the freezing point of H2O.

Inorganic ions

#13 Summary of Biological Molecules

From small to large

1. The larger biological molecules are

made from smaller molecules.
Polysaccharides are made from
monosaccharides, proteins from amino
acids, nucleic acids from nucleotides,
lipids from fatty acids and glycerol.

2. Polysaccharides, proteins and

nucleic acids are formed from
repeating identical or similar subunits
called monomers, and are therefore polymers. These build up into large molecules called

3. The smaller units are joined together by condensation reactions. Condensation involves
removal of water. The reverse process, adding water, is called hydrolysis and is used to
break the large molecules back down into smaller molecules.

4. The linkages that join monosaccharides are called glycosidic bonds. Th e linkages that
join amino acids are called peptide bonds.


5. Carbohydrates have the general formula Cx(H2O)y and comprise monosaccharides,

disaccharides and polysaccharides.

6. Monosaccharides (e.g. glucose) and disaccharides (e.g. sucrose) are very water-soluble
and together are known as sugars.

7. Monosaccharides are the smallest carbohydrate units. Glucose is the most common. Th
ey are important energy sources in cells and also important building blocks for larger
molecules like polysaccharides.

8. Monosaccharides may have straight-chain or ring structures and may exist in diff erent
isomeric forms such as α-glucose and β-glucose.

9. Benedict‘s reagent can be used to test for reducing and non-reducing sugars. The test is

10. Polysaccharides include starch, glycogen and cellulose.

11. Starch is an energy storage compound in plants. It is made up of two types of molecule,
amylose and amylopectin, both made from α-glucose. Amylose is an unbranching molecule,
whereas amylopectin has a branching structure. ‗Iodine solution‘ can be used to test for

12. Glycogen is an energy storage compound in animals, which is also made from α-
glucose. Its structure is similar to that of amylopectin, but with more branching.

13. Cellulose is a polymer of β-glucose molecules. The molecules are grouped together by
hydrogen bonding to form mechanically strong fi bres with high tensile strength that are
found in plant cell walls.


14. Lipids are a diverse group of chemicals, the most common of which are triglycerides
(fats and oils).

15. Triglycerides are made by condensation between three fatty acid molecules and
glycerol. Th ey are
hydrophobic and do not mix with water. They are energy storage compounds in animals, as
well as having other functions such as insulation and buoyancy in marine mammals.

16. Phospholipids have a hydrophilic phosphate head and two hydrophobic fatty acid tails.
Th is is
important in the formation of membranes.

17. The emulsion test can be used to test for lipids.


18. Proteins are long chains of amino acids which fold into precise shapes. Th e sequence
of amino acids in a protein, known as its primary structure, determines the way that it folds
and hence determines its threedimensional shape and function.

19. Many proteins contain areas where the amino acid chain is twisted into an α-helix; this
is an example of secondary structure. Th e structure forms as a result of hydrogen bonding
between the amino acids. Another secondary structure formed by hydrogen bonding is the
β-pleated sheet.

20. Further folding of proteins produces the tertiary structure. Often, a protein is made from
more than one polypeptide chain. Th e association between the diff erent chains is the
quaternary structure of the protein. Tertiary and quaternary structures are very precise and
are held in place by hydrogen bonds, disulfi de bonds (which are covalent), ionic bonds and
hydrophobic interactions.

21. Proteins may be globular or fi brous. A molecule of a globular protein, for example
haemoglobin, is roughly spherical. Most globular proteins are soluble and metabolically
active. Haemoglobin contains a nonprotein (prosthetic) group, the haem group, which
contains iron. Th is combines with oxygen. A molecule of a fi brous protein, for example
collagen, is less folded and forms long strands. Fibrous proteins are insoluble. They often
have a structural role. Collagen has high tensile strength and is the most common animal
protein, being found in a wide range of tissues.

22. Biuret reagent can be used to test for proteins.


23 Water is important within plants and animals, where it forms a large part of the mass of
each cell. It is also an environment in which organisms can live.

24 As a result of extensive hydrogen bonding, water has unusual properties that are
important for life: it is liquid at most temperatures on the Earth‘s surface; its highest density

occurs above its freezing point, so that ice fl oats and insulates water below from freezing
air temperatures; it acts as a solvent for ions and polar molecules, and causes non-polar
molecules to group together; it has a high surface tension, which aff ects the way it moves
through narrow tubes and forms a surface on which some organisms can live. Water can
also act as a reagent inside cells, as in hydrolysis reactions and in photosynthesis as a
source of hydrogen.

Multiple - choice Test

1 The results of testing a solution for the presence of three biological molecules are shown
in the table.

Which biological molecules are present in the solution?

A reducing sugar and protein

B reducing sugar and starch
C protein only
D starch only

2 The diagrams show the structure of four monosaccharides.

Which row in the table below identifies α-glucose and β-glucose?

3 Which reaction involves the hydrolysis of glycosidic bonds?

A cellulose → glucose
B glucose → glycogen
C protein → amino acids
D triglyceride → fatty acids and glycerol

4 The diagram shows a tripeptide made from three glycine amino acids.

Which of the bonds numbered 1 to 8 represent peptide bonds?

A 1 and 7
B 2 and 8
C 3 and 6
D 4 and 5

5 The following bonds are among those found in proteins: disulfide, hydrogen, ionic and
peptide bonds. Which row shows the bonds involved in primary, secondary and tertiary
protein structures?

6 Which of the following describes a molecule of haemoglobin?

A a central haem group enclosed by four coiled globin polypeptides
B a central globin group enclosed by four coiled haem polypeptides
C four coiled globin polypeptides, each with a central haem group
D four coiled haem polypeptides, each with a central globin group

7 Which statement about the properties of water is not correct?

A Evaporation of water is an effective means of cooling an organism.
B Large volumes of water are slow to change temperature as the environmental
temperature changes.
C The solid form of water, ice, is more dense than the liquid form.
D Water is an excellent solvent for ions and polar molecules.

8 Amylopectin is formed from amylose by a plant cell detaching short lengths of an amylose
chain and reattaching them as branches. Which bonds are broken and which are formed
when amylose is converted into amylopectin?

9 The graph shows the variation in melting point of

triglycerides with different numbers of carbon atoms in
their fatty acid chains.

What explains these results?


A Triglycerides with longer fatty acid chains have stronger intermolecular forces and so
have a lower melting point.
B Triglycerides with longer fatty acid chains have weaker intermolecular forces and so
have a higher melting point.
C Triglycerides with shorter fatty acid chains have stronger intermolecular forces and so
have a higher melting point.
D Triglycerides with shorter fatty acid chains have weaker intermolecular forces and so
have a lower melting point.

10 In spider silk, the polypeptide chains have the

amino acid sequence Gly-Ala-Gly-Ala repeated
many times, and the chains pack together as shown
in the diagram. The diagram shows the R groups of
the two amino acids.

Which of the following describes this structure?

A α-helix held together by hydrogen bonds
B α-helix held together by ionic bonds
C β-sheet held together by hydrogen bonds
D β-sheet held together by ionic bonds

Answer to multiple-choice test

1 A 2 C 3 A 4 C 5 B 6 C 7 C 8 B 9 D 10 C

End- of - chapter questions

1 Which term describes both collagen and haemoglobin?
A enzymes
B fibrousproteins
C globularproteins
D macromolecules

2 Whattype of chemical reaction is involved in the formation of disulfide bonds?

A condensation
B hydrolysis
C oxidation
D reduction

3 Which diagram best represents the arrangement of water molecules around sodium
(Na") and chloride (CI-) ions in solution?

4 Copy and complete the following table. Place a tick or a cross in each box as appropriate.

5 Copy and complete the table below which summarises some of the functional categories
into which proteins can be placed.

6 Statethree characteristics of monosaccharides.

7 The diagram shows a disaccharide called lactose. The carbon atoms are numbered. You
are not expected to have seenthis structure before. Lactose is a reducing sugar found in
milk. It is made from a reaction
between the two monosaccharides
glucose and galactose.

a Suggest two functions that lactose

could have. [2]
b What is the name given to the
reaction referred to above that results
in the formation of lactose? [1]

c Identity the bond labelled X in the diagram. [1]

d Draw diagrams to show the structures of separate molecules of glucose and galactose.
e Using the information in the diagram, is the alpha or beta form of glucose used to make
lactose? Explain your answer. [2]
f Like lactose, sucrose is a disaccharide. If you were given a solution of lactose and a
solution of sucrose, state briefly how you could distinguish between them. [2]
[Total: 10]
8 a The diagram below shows the structures of three amino acids.

i Draw a diagram to show the structure of the tripeptide with the following sequence:
alanine-glycine-serine. [3]
ii What is the name given to the sequence of amino acids in a protein? [1]
iii What substance, apart from the tripeptide, would be formed when the three amino
acids combine? [1]
iv Draw a ring around an atom or group of atoms making up an R group that could
hydrogen bond with a neighbouring R group. [1]
v Draw a ring around and label the peptide bond(s) you have drawn in the diagram. [1]
vi Draw a ring around a group of atoms which could hydrogen bond with a -C=O group in
an alpha helix. Label this group A. [1]

b State three features that a-helices and beta sheets have in common. [3]
c A protein can be described as a polymer. State the meaning of the term polymer. [2]
d X and Y represent two different amino acids.
i Write down the sequences of all the possible tripeptides that could be made with just these
two amino acids.[1]
ii From your answer to d i, what is the formula for calculating the number of different
tripeptides that can be formed from two different amino acids?[1] [Total: 15]

9 Copy the diagrams below.

a Identify with labels which one represents a lipid and which a phospholipid. [1]
b i For molecule A, indicate on the diagram where hydrolysis would take place if the
molecule was digested. [2]
ii Name the products of digestion. [2]

c Each molecule has a head with tails attached. For molecule B, label the head to identify
its chemical nature. [1]
d i Which of the two molecules is water-soluble?[1]
ii Explain your answer to d i.[1]
e State one function of each molecule. [2] [Total: 10]

10 a Copy the following table to

summarise some differences
between collagen and
Use the following to guide you.
Row l: State whether globular
or fibrous
Row 2: State whether entirely
helical or partly helical
Row 3: State the type of helix
Row 4: State whether a prosthetic group is present or absent
Row 5: State whether soluble in water or insoluble in water

b State one way in which the structure of haemoglobin is related to its function. [2]
c Haemoglobin possesses a quaternary structure. What does this mean?[1]
d Name the five elements found in haemoglobin. [2]
Answer to end-of-chapter questions
1D 2C 3B

6 dissolve easily in water; sweet; general formula (CH2O)n/contain the elements carbon,
hydrogen and oxygen/hydrogen and oxygen are present in ratio of 2 : 1;

a lactose could be a source of energy; it could be digested to, monosaccharides/glucose
and galactose, which could then be used as building blocks for larger molecules; [2]
b condensation; [1]
c glycosidic bond; [1]

glucose correctly drawn;

galactose correctly drawn; [2]

Carbon atoms need not be numbered. Note that galactose will probably be drawn ‗upside
down‘ as in the disaccharide – the conventional way of drawing it is also shown in the
diagram above. The form used to make the disaccharide is the beta form of galactose, but
students will not need to know this, other than for interest.
e alpha glucose/α-glucose; the –OH group on carbon atom 1 is below the ring; [2]

f carry out a Benedict‘s test on both solutions; lactose would give a brick-red/brown
precipitate, sucrose would not; accept positive result for lactose, negative result for
sucrose [2] [Total: 10]


C of COOH joined to N of NH2 for both peptide bonds;

peptide bonds shown as C=O joined to –NH (i.e. water has been eliminated);
all three amino acids joined and in correct sequence; A even if errors in bonding [3]
ii primary structure; [1]
iii water; [1]
iv ring drawn around –OH or whole R group (–CH2OH) of serine; [1]
v rings drawn around two peptide bonds and bonds labelled appropriately; [1]
vi ring drawn around –NH group one side of a peptide bond and group labelled; [1]

b held in place by hydrogen bonding; secondary structures; all the –NH and –C=O groups
of, peptide bonds/polypeptide backbone, are involved; [3]

c molecule made from repeating subunits; subunits similar or identical to each other; giant
molecule/macromolecule; [max. 2]

ii 23 [1]
[Total: 15]
a A identified as lipid, B identified as phospholipid; [1]
b i junction between head and tail for all three tails is indicated on diagram; allow 1 mark
if only one or two junctions indicated [2]
ii fatty acids; glycerol; [2]
c head of phospholipid is labelled phosphate; [1]
d i phospholipid/B; [1]
ii phosphate is, charged/polar/hydrophilic; [1]
e lipid: energy store/insulator/buoyancy/source of metabolic water/any other suitable
phospholipid: any reference to the importance of phospholipids in structure of
membranes; [2]
[Total: 10]

10 a

1 mark for each correct row. No half marks. [5]

b 1 mark for structural feature, 1 mark for linking this feature to its function, e.g.
haemoglobin contains iron;
iron combines with oxygen; [2]

c molecule has more than one polypeptide chain; [1]

R molecule has four polypeptide chains
d carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, iron;
2 marks for all five correct, 1 mark for four correct, 0 marks for 3 or fewer correct [2]
[Total: 10]


#14. Enzymes - active site, activation energy, enzyme specificity

Enzymes are globular proteins that serve as biological catalysts.

They speed up or slow down metabolic reaction, but remain unchanged.
They may facilitate the breaking of an existing bond or the formation of a new bond.

Substrates = the molecules that bind to the enzyme

Products = new substances formed.

1. Active sites

Active site = area in enzyme's molecule where the substrate bind to enzyme --> enzyme-
substrate complex.

The R groups of amino acids at the active site form temporary bonds with the substrate
molecule. This pulls the substrate slightly out of shape, causing it to react and
form products.

2. Activation energy

 Activation energy = energy the substrates need for changing themselves into
products. Heating provides activation energy.
 Enzymes reduce activation energy needed ---> reaction take place at low to. They
do this by distort the shape of the substrate when it binds at the enzyme's active

3. Enzyme specificity

Lock and Key hypothesis (Emil Fisher, 1894)

 The shape of the active site of the enzyme and the substrate molecules
are complementary.
 They possess specific 3-D shapes that fit exactly into one another.
 Like a key into a lock, only the correct size and shape of the substrate (the key)
would fit into the active site of the enzyme (the lock).
 This shows the high specificity of enzymes, however it is too rigid.

The active site has a complementary shape to the substrate.


Induced fit hypothesis (Koshland, 1958)

 The shape of the active site of the enzyme and the substrate molecules
are NOT complementary.
 In the presence of the substrate, the active site continually reshapes by its
interactions with the substrate, until the substrate is completely fit into it.
 The enzyme is flexible and molds to fit the substrate molecule like gloves fitting one‘s
hand or clothing on a person.
 This hypothesis is more acceptable.

The active site forms a complementary shape

to the substrate only after binding.

#15. Following the course of an enzyme-catalysed reaction

Measurement of the rate of formation of
the product or the rate of disappearance of
the substrate.

1. Measurement of the rate of formation of O2 in

the reaction:

 Mash up some biological material like potato tuber or celery stalks, mix them with
water and filter the mixture to obtain a solution containing catalases.
 Add the mixture to H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) in a test tube. Use small tubes --> not
too much gas in the tube above the liquid.
 Collect the gas in a gas syringe and recording the volume every minute until the
reaction stops.

Note - You can replace the gas syringe by an inverted measuring cylinder over water.

2. Measurement of the rate of disappearance of starch in the reaction:

 Add amylase solution

to starch suspension in a test-tube.
 Take samples of the reacting mixture at
regular time intervals, and test for the
presence of starch using iodine in KI
 When starch is present, iodine
is dark blue.
 If the blue colour lightens, starch is
breaking down.
 When there is no starch, the iodine
solution will remain orange-brown.

To obtain quantitative results, use a colorimeter.

 Put some of the iodine solution into one of the colorimeter tubes, place it in the
colorimeter and adjust the dial to give a reading of 0. This is your standard, with no
 Every minute, take a sample of the liquid from the starch-amylase mixture and add it
to a clean colorimeter tube containing iodine solution. Mix thoroughly, then measure
the light absorbance.
 The darker the blue-black colour, the greater the absorbance, and the greater the
concentration of starch.

#16. Factors affecting the rate of enzyme-catalysed reactions

These factors are:

- Temperature
- pH
- Enzyme concentration
- Substrate concentration
- Inhibitor concentration

When an enzyme solution is added to a solution of

its substrate, the molecules collide.
With time, the quantity of substrate ↓(changed into product) --> frequency of collisions ↓-->
rate of reaction gradually ↓. The reaction rate is fastest at the start of the reaction
(substrate concentration is greatest). --> When comparing reaction rates of an enzyme in
different circumstances, we should
measure the initial rate of reaction.

1. Temperature

 As to ↑, kinetic energy of reacting molecules ↑--> ↑

successful collision --> ↑ rate of reaction.
 At optimal to enzyme's activity is maximal --> rate is maximal.
 Above this temperature, H bonds holding enzyme molecule in
shape begin to break --> change tertiary structure of the enzyme
(denaturation) --> active site is deformed ---> ↓binding of
substrate with enzyme --> ↓ rate of reaction.

Enzymes in the human body generally have an optimum to of about 37oC, organisms that
have evolved to live in much higher or lower temperatures may have much higher or lower
optimum to.

2. pH

 Most enzyme molecules only maintain their correct tertiary structure (exhibit
maximum activity) within a very narrow pH range.

 Optimum pH - is the pH at which an enzyme has maximum activity. Biological

buffers help maintain the
optimum pH for an enzyme.
 Changes in pH can make and
break intra- and intermolecular
bonds, changing the shape of
the enzyme and, therefore, its
 Most enzymes have an
optimum pH that falls within the
physiological range of 7.0-7.5.
 Notable exceptions are the
digestive enzymes pepsin and
pepsin (active in the stomach)
- optimum pH of 1.5
trypsin (active in the small intestine) - optimum pH of 8.0.

3. Enzyme concentration
When there are more substrate than enzyme:

 limiting factor is Enzyme concentration

 ↑ concentration of enzyme --> ↑ collisions between enzyme and substrate -->↑ rate
of the reaction (directly proportional to the enzyme concentration )

Increasing the enzyme concentration beyond a certain point does not change the rate of
reaction BECAUSE when there are less substrate than enzyme:

 limiting factor is Substrate concentration

 ↑ concentration of enzyme does NOT ↑ rate of reaction.

Limiting factor:

Factor that directly affects the rate of reaction at which a process occurs if its quantity is

 Its value has to be ↑ in order to ↑ the rate.

4. Substrate concentration
When there are more enzyme than substrate:

 limiting factor is Substrate concentration

 ↑ concentration of substrate --> ↑ collisions between enzyme and substrate -->↑ rate
of the reaction

Increasing the substrate concentration beyond a certain point does not change the rate of
reaction BECAUSE when there are less enzyme than substrate:

 limiting factor is Enzyme concentration

 ↑ concentration of substrate does NOT ↑ rate of reaction.

5. Inhibitor concentration

Inhibitor = a substance that slows down the rate at which an enzyme works.

Competitive inhibitors

 Have similar shape to the enzyme's normal substrate.

 Can fit into the enzyme's active site, preventing the substrate from binding.
 The greater the proportion inhibitor : substrate, the more inhibitor molecules (not
substrate molecules) will bump into an active site.
 Relative concentrations of the inhibitor and the substrate will affect the degree to
which a competitive inhibitor slows down a reaction.

Non-competitive inhibitors

 Have different shape than the substrate.

 Do not bind to the active site.

 Bind to a different part of the enzyme --> changes the enzyme's shape (including
the active site) --> substrate can not bind with enzyme.
 Relative concentrations of the inhibitor and the substrate does not affect the degree
to which a non-competitive inhibitor slows down a reaction (if you add
more substrate, it still won't be able to bind).

Investigating factors affecting the rate of enzyme-catalysed reactions

1. Temperature

The effect of to on enzyme activity

You can use almost any enzyme reaction for this, such as the action of catalase on H2O2 in
the #17 post. You could use the same method of collecting the gas that is described there,
but here is another possible method:

 Set up several conical flasks containing H2O2 (the same volume and concentration).
Stand each one in a water bath at a particular to. Use at least 5 to over a good range
(0-90o C). Better to set up 3 sets of tubes at each to --> mean result for each to.
 Take a set of test tubes and add the same volume of catalase solution to each one.
Stand these in the same set of water baths.
 Leave all the flasks and tubes to come to the correct to. Check with a thermometer.

 Take the first flask with H2O2, dry its base and sides and stand it on a sensitive top-
pan balance. Pour in the catalase solution (same to) and immediately take
the balance reading.
 Record the new balance readings every 30 seconds for about 3 minutes. The
readings will ↓ as O2 is given off.
 Repeat with the solutions kept at other temperatures.
 Work out the initial rate of each reaction, either taken directly from your readings, or
by drawing a graph of mass lost (mass of O2) against time for each to, and then
working out the gradient of the graph over the first 30 seconds or 60 seconds of the

 Use your results to plot a graph of initial rate of reaction (y-axis) against to.

2. pH

The effect of pH on enzyme activity

 You can adapt the method described in the #17 post for investigating the effect
of to on the rate of breakdown of H2O2 by catalase.
 Vary pH by using different buffer solutions added to each enzyme solution.
 Keep to, enzyme concentration, substrate concentration and total volume of reactants
the same for all the tubes.
 Record, process and display results.

3. Substrate concentration

The effect of substrate concentration on enzyme activity

You can do this in the same way as described for investigating the effect of enzyme
concentration, but this time keep the concentration of catalase the same and vary the
concentration of hydrogen peroxide.

4. Enzyme concentration

The effect of enzyme concentration on rate of reaction

You could use the following method to investigate the effect of enzyme
concentration on the rate at which the enzyme catalase converts
its substrate H2O2 to H2O and O2 .

 Prepare a catalase solution as described in #17 post

 Prepare different dilutions of this solution:

and so on. The final 'solution' prepared should be 10 cm3 of distilled water.

 Place each solution into a tube fitted with a gas syringe. Use small tubes --
> there is not too much gas in the tube above the liquid, but leave space to
add an equal volume of H2O2 solution at the next step. Labell tube with a
waterproof marker. Better to prepare 3 sets of these solutions.
 Place each tube in a water bath at 30oC.
 Take another set of tubes and add 10 cm3 of H2O2 solution to each one.
The concentration of H2O2 must be the same in each tube. Stand these
tubes in the same water bath.
 Leave all the tubes for 5 minutes --> correct to. Add the contents of 1 of
the H2O2 tubes to the first enzyme tube. Mix thoroughly.
 Measure the volume of gas collected in the gas syringe after 2 minutes. If
you are using 3 sets, then repeat using the other 2 tubes containing the
same concentration of enzyme.
 Do the same for each of the tubes of enzyme. Record the mean volume
of gas produced in 2 minutes for each enzyme concentration and plot a
line graph to display your results.
 Note: if you find that you get measurable volumes of gas sooner than
2 minutes after mixing the enzyme and substrate --> take readings earlier.
The closer to the start of the reaction you make the measurements, the

Related post:
Enzimes and reactions
Following the course of an enzyme-catalysed reaction

# 17 Michaelis - Menten Equation and Immobilising an enzyme

Michaelis-Menten equation describes the velocity of enzymatic reactions (v) by relating it

to [S] - concentration of a substrate S.

Michaelis - Menten Equation

An example curve with parametersVmax = 3.4 and Km = 0.4. Wikipedia.

Here, Vmax represents the maximum rate achieved by the system, at maximum (saturating)
substrate concentrations.

The Michaelis constant Km is the substrate concentration at which the reaction rate is half of

Km is (roughly) an inverse measure of the affinity or strength of binding between the

enzyme and its substrate. The lower the Km, the greater the affinity (so the lower the
concentration of substrate needed to achieve a given rate).

It permits prediction of whether or not the rate of formation of product will be affected by the
availability of substrate.

Immobilising an enzyme in alginate

• In industry enzymes are used on a large scale.

• It is very costly to use enzymes only once, but most enzymes are only commercially
available in liquid or dehydrated forms and once they have been used in solution it is very
difficult and time consuming to separate them from the product.

• To allow their re-use, enzymes may be immobilised (attached to an inert, insoluble

material such as calcium alginate to form a gel capsule around them). This way, the
enzymes will be hold in place throughout the reaction, easily separated from the products
and may be used again.

• One way of immobilising enzymes: mixing the enzyme with sodium alginate, then
dropping the mixture into calcium chloride solution. Sodium alginate will turn from liquid to
solid when immersed in calcium chloride. This produces small beads with the enzyme

2 Na(Alginate) + Ca++ -------> Ca(Alginate)2 + 2 Na+

• The substrate that the enzyme acts upon is able to diffuse through the gel, although this
may be quite slow.

• Immobilised enzymes are widely used in industry because it allows the reaction to flow
continuously and the product will not be contaminated with the enzyme so will not need to
be purified.

#18. Summary of Enzymes

1 Enzymes are globular proteins which catalyse metabolic reactions.

2 Each enzyme has an active site with a specific shape, into which the substrate molecule
or molecules fit precisely. This is the lock and key hypothesis – the substrate is compared
with a key which fits precisely into the lock of the enzyme.

3 The lock and key hypothesis has been modified. The modern hypothesis is called the
induced fit hypothesis. The active site is no longer regarded as a rigid structure like a lock,
but as a flexible structure which can change shape slightly to fit precisely the substrate

4 When the substrate enters the active site, an enzyme–substrate complex is temporarily
formed in which the R groups of the amino acids in the enzyme hold the substrate in place.

5 Enzymes may be involved in reactions which break down molecules or join molecules

6 Enzymes work by lowering the activation energy of the reactions they catalyse.

7 The course of an enzyme reaction can be followed by measuring the rate at which a
product is formed or the rate at which a substrate disappears. A progress curve, with time
on the x-axis, can be plotted. The curve is steepest at the beginning of the reaction, when
substrate concentration is at its highest. This rate is called the initial rate of reaction.

8 Various factors aff ect the rate of activity of enzymes. Four important factors are enzyme
concentration, substrate concentration, temperature and pH.

9 Th e greater the concentration of the enzyme, the faster the rate of reaction, provided
there are enough substrate molecules present. Similarly, the greater the concentration of
the substrate, the faster the rate of reaction, provided enough enzyme molecules are
present. During enzyme reactions, rates slow down as substrate molecules are used up.

10 Each enzyme has an optimum temperature at which it works fastest. As temperature

increases above the optimum temperature, the enzyme gradually denatures (loses its
precise tertiary structure). When it is completely denatured, it ceases to function.
Denaturation is sometimes reversible.

11 Each enzyme has an optimum pH. Some enzymes operate within a narrow pH range;
some have a broad pH range.

12 Enzymes are also aff ected by the presence of inhibitors, which slow down their rate of
reaction or stop it completely.

13 Competitive inhibitors are molecules which are similar in shape to the normal substrate
molecules. They compete for the active site of the enzyme. This type of inhibition is
reversible because the inhibitor can enter and leave the active site.

14 Non-competitive inhibitors either bind permanently to the active site or bind at a site
elsewhere on the enzyme, causing a change in shape of the active site. Such binding may
or may not be reversible.

Multiple - choise Test

1 Which of the following describes an enzyme?

A a catalyst with an active site which binds to the product of a reaction
B a fibrous protein with an active site which binds to a substrate
C a globular protein with hydrophilic groups on its surface
D an insoluble biological catalyst

2 The graph shows the energy changes during the progress of a chemical reaction.

Which of the energy changes could be

decreased by adding an enzyme?

A 1, 2 and 3
B 1 and 2 only
C 1 and 3 only
D 2 and 3 only

3 Which tests, carried out on samples taken at

intervals during the course of the reaction
below, would enable the progress of the
reaction to be followed?

1 Benedict‘s test
2 biuret test
3 emulsion test
4 iodine in potassium iodide solution test
A 1 or 2
B 1 or 4
C 2 or 3
D 3 or 4

4 Which of the following describes the effects of temperature on an enzyme-controlled

A At low temperatures, substrate molecules only rarely collide with an enzyme‘s active
B At low temperatures, the enzyme loses its shape and activity.
C At low temperatures, the enzyme becomes denatured.
D As the temperature increases, the number of collisions between enzyme and substrate

5 Which statement does not describe the effect on an enzyme‘s activity of changing the pH.
A A pH that is very different from the enzyme‘s optimum pH can denature the enzyme.
B At low pH there are fewer hydrogen ions to interact with the R groups of the amino acids
that make up the enzyme.
C Changing the pH alters the interactions of the amino acids that make up the enzyme.
D Changing the pH alters the enzyme‘s three-dimensional shape.

6 The graph shows the effect of increasing the

substrate concentration on the rate of an
enzyme-catalysed reaction.

What explains why the rate of reaction levels off?

A All the enzyme active sites are saturated with

B All the substrate has been used up.
C The concentration of the enzyme is gradually
D The rate at which enzyme and substrate
collide is decreasing.

7 Curve X shows the progress of an enzyme-catalysed reaction under optimum


Curve Y shows the same reaction with one factor

changed throughout the reaction.

Which factor was changed?

A A competitive inhibitor was added.

B A non-competitive inhibitor was added.
C The reaction took place at a different
D The reaction took place at a different pH.

8 These statements are about enzyme inhibitors.

1 binds reversibly to an enzyme
2 binds to a site on the enzyme different from the active site
3 has a structural similarity to the enzyme‘s normal substrate
4 can be displaced from the enzyme by a high concentration of the enzyme‘s normal

Which statements describe a competitive inhibitor?

A 1, 2, 3 and 4
B 1, 3 and 4 only
C 2 and 3 only
D 3 and 4 only

9 Fibrous protein from dead cells is difficult to remove from contact lenses. Some cleaning
solutions contain an enzyme to digest this protein to soluble products.

What describes the enzyme and its activity?

A An active site on a fibrous protein binds to the enzyme and is hydrolysed.
B An active site on a soluble product binds to the enzyme and is digested.

C An active site on a globular protein binds to a soluble product and digests it.
D An active site on a globular protein binds to a fibrous protein and hydrolyses it.

10 Several different organisms produce lactase enzymes to hydrolyse lactose. The different
enzymes have different molecular sizes.

Which description of these different lactases is correct?

A Their active sites have the same shape.

B Their primary structure is the same.
C They each contain the same number of amino acids.
D They have exactly the same three-dimensional structure.

Answer for Multiple - choise Test

1 C 2 C 3 B 4 A 5 B 6 A 7 B 8 B 9 D 10 A

End-of-chapter questions

1 The diagram below shows an enzyme and an inhibitor of the enzyme. Which of the
following describes the inhibitor?

A competitive, irreversible
B competitive, reversible
C non-competitive, irreversible
D non-competitive, reversible

2 In a reaction controlled by an enzyme, which of the following graphs shows the effect of
substrate concentration on the rate of the reaction?

3 The graph shows the progress of the digestion of

starch by the enzyme salivary amylase. Why does
the reaction slow down?
A End-product inhibition by maltose.
B The salivary amylase is becoming denatured.
C The salivary amylase is gradually becoming
saturated with starch.

D There are fewer and fewer substrate molecules left to bind with the salivary amylase.

4 If methylene blue dye is added to a

suspension of yeast cells, living cells do not
take up the stain, and they remain colourless.
However, dead cells are stained blue.This fact
was used to carry out an investigation into the
rate at which yeast cells were killed at two
different temperatures (at high temperatures
the yeast enzymes will be denatured).

Which of the following is correct?

5 Copy the graph in question 3 and draw a line from which

the initial rate of reaction could be calculated.

6. The graph below shows the effect of changes in pH on

the activity of the enzyme lysozyme.

a Describe the effect of pH on this enzyme.

b Explain why pH affects the activity of the enzyme.

7 The graph below shows the effect of temperature on

the rate of reaction of an enzyme.

a What is indicated by X?
b What temperature would X be for a mammalian
c Explain what is happening in region A.
d Explain what is happening in region B.
e Enzymes are effective because they lower the
activation energy of the reactions they
catalyse. Explain what is meant by 'activation energy'.

8 The reaction below occurs during aerobic respiration. The

reaction is catalysed by the enzyme succinic

a Name the substrate in the above reaction. [1]

b The molecule malonic acid, which is shown below,
inhibits this reaction. It does not bind permanently to the
enzyme. Describe how malonic acid inhibits the enzyme

dehydrogenase. [3]

c Heavy metals such as lead and mercury bind permanently to -SH groups
of amino acids present in enzymes. These -SH groups could be in the active
site or elsewhere in the enzyme.

i Name the amino acid which contains -SH groups.[1]

ii Explain the function of -SH groups in proteins and why binding of heavy
metals to these groups would inhibit the activity of an enzyme.[4]
iii What type of inhibition would be caused by the heavy metals?[1] [Total: 10]
9. You are provided with three solutions: A, B and C. One solution contains the enzyme
amylase, one contains starch andone contains glucose. Starch is the substrate of the
enzyme. The product is the sugar maltose. You are provided withonly one reagent,
Benedict's solution, and the usual laboratory apparatus.
a Outline the procedure you would follow to identify the three solutions.[6]
b What type of reaction is catalysed by the enzyme? [1]
[Total: 7]

10 The activity of the enzyme amylase can be measured at a particular temperature by

placing a sample into a Petri dish containing starch-agar ('a starch-agar plate'). Starch-agar
is a jelly containing starch. One or more 'wells' (small holes) arecut in the agar jelly with a
cork borer, and a sample of the enzyme is placed in each well. The enzyme molecules then
diffuse through the agar and gradually digest any starch in their path. At the end of the
experiment, iodine in potassium iodide solution is poured over the plate. Most of the plate
will turn blue-black as iodine reacts with starch, but a clear 'halo' (circle) will be seen
around the well where starch has been digested. Measuring the size of the halo cangive
an indication of the activity of the enzyme.

A student decided to investigate the rate at which a mammalian amylase is denatured at

60°C. She heated different amples of the enzyme in a water bath at 60°C for 0, 1, 5, 10
and 30 minutes. She then allowed the samples to cool downto room temperature and
placed samples of equal volume in the wells of five starch-agar plates, one plate for
eachheating period. She then incubated the plates in an oven at 40°C for 24 hours.

The results of the student's experiment are shown on the next page. A diagram of one dish
is shown, and the real size of one halo from each dish is also shown.

a Why did the student cut four wells in each dish rather than just one? [1]
b One dish contained samples from amylase which was not heated (time zero). This is a
control dish. Explain the purpose of this control. [1]
c Explain why the starch-agar plates were incubated at 40°C and not room temperature. [1]
d Describe what was happening in the dishes during the 24 hours of incubation [4]
e Why was it important to add the same volume of amylase solution to each well? [1]
f Measure the diameter in mm of the representative halo from each dish. Record the
results in a suitable table. [4]
g Only one halo from each dish is shown in the diagrams. In practice there was some
variation in the diameters of the four halos in each dish. How would you allow for this when
processing your data? [1]
h Plot a graph to show the effect of length of time at 60°C on the activity of the enzyme. [5]
i Describe and explain your results. [4]
j Another student discovered that amylases from fungi and bacteria are more resistant to
high temperatures than mmalian amylases. Using starch-agar plates as a method for
measuring the activity of an amylase at 40°C, outline an experiment that the student could

perform to discover which amylase is most resistant to heat. Note that temperatures up to
120 °C can be obtained by using an autoclave (pressure cooker).
k Enzymes are used in many industrial processes where resistance to high temperatures is
an advantage.[5]
State three other variables apart from temperature which should be controlled in an
industrial process involving enzymes.[3]
[Total: 30]

Answer for end-of-chapter

1B2D 3D 4C
5 straight line drawn from origin at zero to show steepest gradient of curve;
6 a maximum activity/optimum pH, is pH 5; activity gradually increases between pH 2 and
pH 5, and decreases from pH 5 to pH 10; activity very low at pH 2 and pH 10;
b pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration; hydrogen ions are positively
hydrogen ions can interact with the R groups of amino acids; affects ionic bonding/affects
ionisation of R groups; affects tertiary structure/affects 3D shape of enzyme; therefore
substrate may not fit active site (as precisely);

7 a optimum temperature;

b 37 °C accept 40 °C
c as temperature increases the kinetic energy of the molecules increases; the rate of
collision between substrate and, enzyme/active site, increases; rate of reaction increases;
d the enzyme is gradually being denatured; when the rate is zero the enzyme is
completely denatured; enzyme loses tertiary structure; substrate no longer fits into active
site/active site loses its (specific) shape so substrate does not fit; hydrogen bonds
broken/increased vibration of enzyme molecule;
e the extra energy which must be given to the substrate; before it can be converted into the

8 a succinic acid; [1]

b malonic acid acts as a competitive inhibitor; it has a similar shape/structure to succinic
it therefore competes with succinic acid for a place in the active site of the enzyme; [3]
c i cysteine; [1]
ii –SH groups form disulfi de bridges; used to determine tertiary structure; heavy metal
would prevent formation of disulfi de bridges; could change shape of active site; heavy
metal could affect shape either by binding directly in the active site, or by binding at another
site which then results in change in shape of the active site; substrate would not be able to
fi t into active site; [max. 4]
iii (non-competitive) irreversible; [1]
[Total: 10]
8 a succinic acid; [1]
b malonic acid acts as a competitive inhibitor;
it has a similar shape/structure to succinic acid;
it therefore competes with succinic acid for a place in the active site of the enzyme; [3]
c i cysteine; [1]
ii –SH groups form disulfi de bridges;
used to determine tertiary structure;
heavy metal would prevent formation of disulfi de bridges;
could change shape of active site;
heavy metal could aff ect shape either by binding directly in the active site, or by binding at
another site which then results in change in shape of the active site; substrate would not be
able to fit into active site; [max. 4]
iii (non-competitive) irreversible; [1]
[Total: 10]
9 a carry out Benedict‘s test on solutions A, B and C;
a positive result/brick-red precipitate will be seen, with the glucose solution;
heat separate samples of the two remaining solutions, in boiling water bath/to high
temperature (e.g. 80 °C), for suitable time/at least two minutes (enzyme will be denatured);
for each heated solution, mix it with an unheated sample of the other solution;
leave several minutes/suitable time (for reaction to take place);
carry out Benedict‘s test on the two tubes;
only one will give a positive result (due to presence of maltose) and this will be the one
which contained the unheated enzyme;
accept alternative wording for all steps in the procedure, provided the same logical
sequence is described [max. 6]
b hydrolysis; [1] [Total: 7]

10 a replication increases reliability; AW [1]

b to act as a reference to show what happens if there is no denaturation; AW [1]
c 40 °C is the optimum temperature for a mammalian enzyme; [1]
d enzyme/amylase (molecules) diff use(s) from wells into the agar;
enzyme/amylase digests the starch;

to maltose;
forms rings/halos, of digested starch around the wells;
amount of digestion/rate of digestion, is related to degree of denaturation of
enzyme/amylase;[max. 4]
e the more enzyme/amylase added, the greater the amount of digestion of starch
or want results to be due to diff erences in preheating times, not to diff erences in amount
of amylase/enzyme; AW [1]
f table drawn with ruled lines for border and to
separate columns and headings (ideally ruled lines
between rows, but not essential for mark);
correct headings to columns with units;
first column is independent variable (Time heated at
60 °C); correct measurements of halos; [4]

g measure the four halos and calculate the mean; [1]

(any anomalous results should be ignored)

x-axis (horizontal axis) is labelled ‗Time (heated) at 60 °C‘, y-axis (vertical axis) is labelled
units given on axes, min/minutes and mm;
regular intervals on both axes (check that 0, 1, 5, 10, 30 are not regularly spaced on x-
points plotted accurately;
points joined with straight lines or smooth curve; [5]

i enzyme was completely denatured after 30 minutes;

rate of denaturation was rapid at first and then gradually slowed down;
data quoted;
enzyme loses tertiary structure;
substrate no longer fi ts into active site/active site loses its (specific) shape so substrate
does not fit;
AVP e.g. hydrogen bonds broken/increased vibration of enzyme molecule; [max. 4]

j heat samples of mammalian, fungal and bacterial amylases at diff erent temperatures;
suitable range, e.g. between 40 °C and 120 °C;
40 °C is a control (for reference to fi nd out size of halo with no denaturation);
at least five temperatures, e.g. 40, 60, 80, 100, 120 °C;

heat for suitable length of time (e.g. one hour, at least ten min);
cool to room temp/40 °C, add equal volumes to wells in starch–agar plates, replicate wells
in each plate (e.g. four), leave 24 hours, test for starch, measure diameters of halos;
[max. 5]

Background information: amylase enzymes from the bacterium Bacillus licheniformis and
the fungus Aspergillus have been developed by biotechnology companies for use in
industrial processes. For example, a bacterial amylase that functions in the range 90–110
°C has been developed and is used in beer brewing and other processes, and a fungal
amylase that operates in the range 50–60 °C is used for pastry baking and maltose syrup

k pH ;
substrate concentration;
enzyme concentration; [3]
[Total: 30]


#19. Fluid Mosaic Model of the plasma menbrane

The fluid-mosaic model describes the plasma

membrane that surrounds animal cell. The
membrane has 2 layers of phospholipids (fats with
phosphorous attached), which at body temperature
are like vegetable oil (fluid).

1. Fluid Mosaic Model

 Because cells reside in a watery solution (extracellular fluid), and they contain a
watery solution inside of them (cytoplasm), both layers of phospholipids (1) have
the hydrophilic heads (2) facing outwards into the water and the hydrophobic tails
(3) facing inwards, avoiding contact with water.

 Cholesterol molecules are among the phospholipids.

 Protein molecules (4) float in the phospholipid bilayer.

 Many of the phospholipids and proteins have short chains of carbohydrates (5)
attached to them, on the outer surface of the membrane. They are known
as glycolipids (6) and glycoproteins (7). There are also other types of glycolipid
with no phosphate groups.

The fluid mosaic model of membrane structure.


This is called the fluid mosaic model of membrane structure:

• 'fluid' because the membran is fluid (molecules within the membrane can move around
within their own layers)

• 'mosaic' because the protein molecules are mosaiclly aranged

• 'model' because no-one has ever seen a membrane looking like the diagram - the
molecules are too small to see even with the most powerful microscope.

The role of the components of cell membrane

Component Roles
Phospholipids  Have a hydrophobic head and a fatty acid tail --> form
a bilayer separating the cell from the outside.
 They are fluid --> components can move around freely.
 Permeable to small and/or non-polar molecules
 Impermeable to large molecules and ions --> prevent these
substances from passing thorough.

Cholesterol  Maintains the fluidity of the membrane

 Increases the stability of the membrane: sits between fatty acid
tails --> making the barrier more complete, preventing molecules
like water and ions from passing through the membrane. Without
cholesterol the membrane would easily split apart.

Proteins and  Channel proteins allow the movement of some substances, such
glycoproteins as the large molecule sugar, into and out of the cell as they can‘t
(Protein travel directly through the cell surface membrane. The channels
molecules + can be opened or closed to control the substances‘ movement.

 Carrier proteins actively move substances across the cell surface

membrane, using energy from ATP.

 Cell surface receptors are glycoproteins responsible for the

binding of an extracellular signalling molecule (hormones and cell
surface antigens) and transduction of its messages into one or
more intracellular signalling molecules, which changes the cell‘s
 Help to interact with other cells.
 Help to recognise cells: glycoproteins are specific for cells from a
particular individual or a particular tissue

Glycolipids  Cell signalling

(Phosopholipid  Cell surface antigens
molecules +  Cell adhesion (adhese to neighbouring cells to form tissues).

2. Roles of cell surface membranes

 Structural, keeping the cell contents together.

 Separate cell components from the outside environment
 Allows cells to communicate with each other by cell signalling.
 Allows recognition of other external substances.
 Allows mobility in some organisms, e.g. amoeba.
 Selectively permeable barrier.
 Regulating the transport of materials into or out of cells
 The site of various chemical reactions.

# 20. Passive and active transport across cell membranes

Substances can enter or leave a cell in 2


1) Passive

a) Simple Diffusion
b) Facilitated Diffusion
c) Osmosis (water only)

2) Active

a) Molecules
b) Particles

I. Passive transport across cell membranes

1. Diffusion

 Molecules and ions move freely in gases

and liquids, each type of these particles
tends to spread out evenly within the
space available. This is diffusion.

 Diffusion is:

+ the net movement of molecules

+ from a region of its higher
concentration to a region of its lower
+ down a concentration gradient
+ no energy is used. Source:

 Some molecules and ions are able to pass through

cell membranes --> The membrane is permeable.
Some substances cannot pass through cell
membranes --> The membrane is partially

 Example: O2 is at a higher concentration outside a

cell (inside the cell it is being used in respiration).
Oxygen molecules are small and do not carry an
electrical charge --> they can pass freely through the
phospholipid bilayer -->O2 diffuses from outside to
the inside of the cell, down its concentration

2. Facilitated diffusion

 Facilitated diffusion is

+ the movement of specific molecules

+ down a concentration gradient
+ with the aid of special channel or carrier protein.
+ no energy is used.

 Ions or electrically charged molecules are not able to diffuse through

the phospholipid bilayer because they are repelled from the hydrophobic tails. Large
molecules are also unable to move through the phospholipid bilayer freely.

 However, the cell membrane contains special channel protein that provide
hydrophilic passageways for these special ions and molecules. Diffusion through
these channel proteins is called facilitated diffusion. Like 'ordinary' diffusion, it is
entirely passive.

 Each carrier protein has its own shape and only allows one molecule (or one group
of closely related molecules) to pass through. Selection is by size; shape; charge.

Glucose and amino-acids are

transporteg by facilitated diffusion.

3. Osmosis

 Osmosis is

+ the diffusion of water molecules

+ from a region of their higher concentration (dilute solution) to a region of their
lower concentration (concentrated solution)

+ across a partially permeable membrane

+ down a water potential gradient.
+ no energy is used.

 The solute molecules are too large to get through the membrane. Water molecules
carry tiny electrical charges but they ar small --> can move freely through
the phospholipid bilayer of most cell membranes --> diffuse across cell membranes.

In the picture:
- The concentration of sugar molecules is higher on
the concentrated solution (L) and lower on the diluted
one (R).
- The concentration of water molecules is higher on
the (R) and lower on the (L).

It is confusing to talk about the 'concentration of water', so we can say that a diluted
solution (R) has a hige water potential and a concentrated solution (L) has a low water

There is a water potential gradient between the 2 sides. The water molecules diffuse down
this gradient, from a high water potential (R) to a low water potential (L).

Water potential (ψ) is measured in pressure units, kilopascals (kPa):

- Pure water ψ = O kPa.

- Solutions ψ = negative:
e.g a dilute sucrose solution ψ = -250 kPa
a concentrated sucrose solution ψ = -4000 kPa.

- Water moves by osmosis down a water potential gradient, from a high ψ (- 250 kPA) to a
low ψ (- 4000 kPA).

Summary of passive transport

II. Active transport across cell membranes

Sometimes substances are required to be

move against the concentration gradient, or faster
than they would by passive transport. In these
cases, active processes are used, which
require energy. There are many occasions when
cells need to take in substances which are only
present in small quantities around them.

E.g. root hair cells in plants take

in nitrate ions from the soil. Their
concentration are often higher inside the
root hair cell than in the soil, so
the diffusion gradient is from the root
hair à the soil. Despite this, the root hair
cells still can take nitrate ions in,
by active transport.

The active transport is done

using carrier (transporter) proteins in
the cell membrane. These use energy
from the breakdown of ATP to move the
ions into the cell. The carrier proteins
are ATPases. Each carrier protein is
specific to just one type of ion or
molecule. Cells contain many different
carrier proteins in their membranes.

Source: McGraw- Hill companies.

III. Endocytosis and exocytosis (bulk transport)

Macromolecules are too large to move with membrane proteins and must be transported
across membranes in vesicles.


 the transport of macromolecules out of a cell in a vesicle

 the object is surrounded by a membrane inside the cell to form a vesicle
 the vesicle is moved to the cell membrane.
 the membrane of the vesicle fuses with the cell membrane, expelling its contents
outside the cell.


 the transport of macromolecules into a cell in a vesicle

 the cell puts out extensions around the object to be engulfed
 the membrane fuses together around the object, forming a vesicle.

 there are 2 types of endocytosis: phagocytosis (cell eating) and pinocytosis (cell

Video: Cell membrane animation

# 21. Surface area to volume ratios, Investigating diffusion

As the radius of a cell ↑ from 1x to 3x (left),

the surface area ↑ from 1x to 9x,
and the volume ↑ from 1x to 27x.
Source: Nature Education

As a cell increases in size, there is less surface area in proportion to its volume.
Relatively there is less surface area of cell mebrane over which inffusion can coccur.
As the cell grows and increases in size, their surface area - and thus their ability to take in
nutrients and transport electrons - does not increase to the same degree as their volume.
The volume ↑ faster than the surface area --> surface area/volume (SA/V) ratio ↓.

So, with increasing size of a cell, less of the cytoplasm has access to the cell surface for
exchange of gases, supply of nutrients, and loss of waste products --> the smaller the cell
is, the more quickly and easily can materials be exchanged between its cytoplasm and
environment. That's why cells cannot continue growing larger, indefinitely. When a
maximum size is reached, cell growth stops.


 Use some cubes cut from agar gel that had an indicator added to it.
 Place the agar blocks into Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) solution, the bright pink colour
of the agar blocks showed how far the NaOH had diffused.

Simple experiments on diffusion and osmosis

using living and non-living systems

a. Cubes of agar jelly placed into solutions of methylene blue or potassium permanganate
will absorb the pigment by diffusion. The cubes are left in the pigmented solution for
different measured periods of time and are then sliced open. The distance between the
edge of each cube and the edge of the coloured agar may be used as a measure of the
distance the pigment molecules have moved by diffusion.

b. A crystal of potassium permanganate can be dropped into a beaker of water and the
appearance of the water noted over time.

c. To demonstrate osmosis, Visking tubing (dialysis tubing) can be tied at one end and filled
with 20% sucrose solution. The other end is attached to a capillary tube. The level of the
sucrose can be noted before and after the tubing has been placed in a beaker of water for
about 30 minutes.

d Onion epidermis can be peeled away, cut into squares and mounted on slides in different
concentrations of sucrose solution. Observation under a microscope will show the effects of

e. Red blood cells in blood obtained from a butcher may be mounted on slides in hypotonic,
isotonic and hypertonic saline, and observed under a microscope to show the effects of

f .To cut potato cubes of different sizes, which have different surface area to volume ratios.
After measuring and recording the masses of the cubes, they are immersed in water. After
one hour, the cubes are blotted dry and their masses measured and recorded again. The
percentage increase in mass for cubes of different surface area to mass ratio can be
compared, to explore the concept of how surface area to volume ratio influences water

Investigating the effect on plant cells of immersion

in solutions of different water potentials

Source: McGraw - Hill companies.

There are several different ways in which this investigation could be done. They include:

• cut cylinders or discs or strips of a solid and uniform plant tissue, such as a potato tuber,
then measure either their lengths or masses before immersing them in the solutions. Leave
them long enough for them to come to equilibrium, and then measure the length or mass of
each piece again, and calculate the percentage change in the measurement. Percentage
change can then be plotted against the concentration of the solution.

• cut small pieces of single-cell-thick plant tissue, for example onion epidermis (skin). Mount
them in a drop of sugar solution on microscope slides, and count the percentage of cells
plasmolysed, or score each cell you see according to how plasmolysed it is.

The top image shows the cells before plasmolysis.

The cells are filled with a red pigment and appear pink.
The bottom image shows the same cells after the addition of saturated salt water.
Intact cells will lose much of the water due to osmosis.
The concentration of the pigment rises resulting in a darker color.
The shape of the cell wall remains unaffected.

For the plasmolysis investigation, you could use this method:

• Peeloff one of the thick layers from an onion bulb. Cut 6 approximately 1 cm2 pieces from
it, put each piece into a different liquid. One should be distilled water, then a range of
sucrose solutions from about 0.1 mol dm-3 up to 1.0 mol dm-3.

• Take six clean microscope slides and label each with the concentration of solution you are
going to place on it. Put a drop of the relevant solution on each one.

• Peel off the inner epidermis from one of the 1 cm2 pieces of onion, and place it carefully
onto the drop on a slide of the same concentration solution in which it has been immersed.
Take care not to let it fold over. Press it gently into the liquid using a section lifter or other
blunt tool. Carefully place a coverslip over it, taking care not to trap air bubbles.

• Repeat with each of the other drops of liquid. Leave all of the slides for at least 5 minutes
to give any water movements by osmosis time to take place and equilibrium to be reached.

• Observe each slide under the microscope. Count the total number of cells in the field of
view and record this. Then count the number that are plasmolysed and record this. Then
move to another area of the slide and repeat until you have counted at least 50 cells.
Repeat for each slide.

• Calculate the percentage of cells that have plasmolysed in each solution. Add this to your
results chart.

• Plot percentage of cells that have plasmolysed (y-axis) against the concentration of the
solution (x-axis). Join the points with either straight lines drawn between points, or a best-fit

• The point at which the line crosses the 50% plasmolysis level tells you the concentration
of the solution at which, on average, cells were just beginning to plasmolyse. At this value,
the concentration of the solution inside the onion cells was, on average, the same as the
concentration of the sucrose solution.

#22. Summary of Cell membrane

1 The basic structure of a membrane is a 7 nm

thick phospholipid bilayer with protein
molecules spanning the bilayer or within one or
other layer. Phospholipids and some proteins
move within the layers. Hence the structure is
described as a fluid mosaic – the scattered
protein molecules resemble pieces of a

2 Phospholipid bilayers are a barrier to most watersoluble substances because the interior
of the membrane is hydrophobic.

3 Cholesterol is needed for membrane fluidity and stability.

4 Some proteins are transport proteins, transporting molecules or ions across the
membrane. They may be either channel proteins or carrier proteins. Channel proteins have
a fixed shape; carrier proteins change shape.

5 Some proteins act as enzymes – for example, in the cell surface membranes of microvilli
in the gut.

6 Glycolipids and glycoproteins form receptors – for example, for hormones or

neurotransmitters. They also form antigens, which are cell recognition markers.

7 The cell surface membrane controls exchange between the cell and its environment.

8 Some chemical reactions take place on membranes inside cell organelles, as in

photosynthesis and respiration.

9 Diffusion is the net movement of molecules or ions from a region of their higher
concentration to one of lower concentration. Oxygen, carbon dioxide and water cross
membranes by diff usion through the phospholipid bilayer.

10 Diffusion of ions and larger polar molecules through membranes is allowed by transport
proteins. This process is called facilitated diff usion.

11 Water moves from regions of higher water potential to regions of lower water potential.
When this takes place through a partially permeable membrane such as the cell surface
membrane, this diff usion is called osmosis.

12 Pure water has a water potential (ψ) of zero. Adding solute reduces the water potential
by an amount known as the solute potential (ψs), which has a negative value. Adding
pressure to a solution increases the water potential by an amount known as the pressure
potential (ψp), which has a positive value.

The following equation is used: ψ = ψp + pψs

Water Potential (ψ) = Pressure Potential (ψp) + Solute Potential (ψs)


13 In dilute solutions, animal cells burst as water moves into the cytoplasm from the
solution. In dilute solutions, a plant cell does not burst, because the cell wall provides
resistance to prevent it expanding.
The pressure that builds up is the pressure potential. A plant cell in this state is turgid. In
concentrated solutions, animal cells shrink, while in plant cells the protoplast shrinks away
from the cell wall in a process known as plasmolysis.

14 Some ions and molecules move across membranes by active transport, against the
concentration gradient. This needs a carrier protein and ATP to provide energy.

15 Exocytosis and endocytosis involve the formation of vacuoles to move larger quantities
of materials respectively out of, or into, cells by bulk transport. There are two types of
endocytosis, namely phagocytosis (cell eating) and pinocytosis (cell drinking).

Multiple - choice Test

1 The diagram shows a small part of a cell surface membrane.

Which regions are hydrophobic?

A 1 and 2 only
B 1 and 4 only
C 2 and 3 only
D 3 and 4 only

2 The diagram shows part of a cell surface membrane. In addition to the molecules shown,
cholesterol is also present.

In which region is cholesterol found?

3 Which component of a cell surface membrane allows the movement of ions across the

A cholesterol

B fatty acids
C phospholipid
D protein

4 The molecules which make up biological membranes have different functions.

Which row matches molecules with their functions?

5 A substance moves into a cell through a protein pore. Which of the following describes
this movement?

A an ion moving against its concentration gradient by active transport

B glucose moving down its concentration gradient by diffusion
C oxygen moving against its concentration gradient by facilitated diffusion
D carbon dioxide moving against its concentration gradient by osmosis

6 Which of the following correctly describes the movement of water by osmosis?

A from a region of higher water potential to a region of lower water potential through a fully
permeable membrane
B from a region of higher water potential to a region of lower water potential through a
partially permeable membrane
C from a region of lower water potential to a region of higher water potential through a fully
permeable membrane
D from a region of lower water potential to a region of higher water potential through a
partially permeable membrane

7 Which of the processes that transport materials across a cell surface membrane require
energy from the cell‘s supply of ATP?

8 A protein is synthesised by a ribosome in an animal cell. What is the sequence of events

leading to the secretion of the protein by exocytosis?

1 protein modified by the Golgi apparatus

2 protein enters the endoplasmic reticulum

3 secretory vesicles fuse with the cell surface membrane

4 secretory vesicles formed by the Golgi apparatus
5 vesicles bud off from the endoplasmic reticulum


9 Examples of the bulk transport of materials into or out of cells are listed.

1 white blood cell engulfing a bacterium

2 plant cell building up its cell wall
3 pancreas cell releasing digestive enzymes
4 ovum taking up liquid nutrients from a follicle cell

Which are examples of exocytosis?

A 1 and 2 only
B 1 and 4 only
C 2 and 3 only
D 3 and 4 only

10 A small piece of plant tissue was placed into each of three solutions, P, Q and R. After
one hour, the tissues were examined using a light microscope and the appearance of the
cells was recorded.

What conclusion can be made about the water potentials of the three solutions?
A The water potential of P is greater than that of R.
B The water potential of Q is greater than that of R.
C The water potential of R is greater than that of P.
D The water potential of Q is greater than that of P.

Answers for Multiple - choice Test

1 D 2 C 3 D 4 C 5 A 6 B 7 A 8 B 9 C 10 A

End-of-chapter questions

1 Whatare the most abundant molecules in the cell surface membranes of plant cells?
A cholesterol
B glycolipids
C phospholipids
D proteins

2 Whereare the carbohydrate portions of glycolipids and glycoproteins located in cell

surface membranes?
A the inside and outside surfaces of the membrane
B theinside surface of the membrane
C the interior of the membrane
D the outside surface of the membrane
3 The cells of the myelin sheath are wrapped in layers around nerve cell axons. Freeze-
fractured preparations of themyelin sheath cell surface membranes show very few
particles. This indicates that myelin membranes contain relativelfyew of which type of
A cholesterol B glycolipids C polysaccharides D proteins

4 Prepare a table to summarise briefly the major functions of phospholipids,

cholesterol, glycolipids, glycoproteins and proteins in cell surface membranes.

5 a Describe fully what will occur if a plant cell is placed in a solution that has a higher
water potential than the cell. Use the following terms in your answer.
cell wall, freely permeable, partially permeable, cell surface membrane, vacuole,
tonoplast, cytoplasm, solute potential, pressure potential, water potential, turgid, osmosis,
protoplast, equilibrium

b Describe fully what will occur if a plant cell is placedin a solution that has a lower
water potential than the cell. Use the following terms in your answer.
cell wall, freely permeable, partially permeable, cell surface membrane, vacuole,
tonoplast, cytoplasm, solute potential, pressure potential, water potential, incipient
plasmolysis, plasmolysed, osmosis, protoplast,

6 The diagram shows part of a membrane containing

a channel protein. Part of the protein molecule is
a Identify the parts labelled A, Band C.
b For each of the following, state whether the
component is hydrophilic or hydrophobic:
ii B
iii darkly shaded part of protein
iv lightly shaded part of protein.
c Explain how ions would move through the channel protein.
d State two features that the channel proteins and carrier proteins of membranes have in
common. e State one structural difference between channel and carrier proteins.
f Calculate the magnification of the drawing. Show your working.

7 Copy the table below and place a tick or cross in each box as appropriate.

8 Copy and complete the table below to compare cell walls with cell membranes.

9 A cell with a water potential of -300 kPa was placed in

pure water at time zero. The rate of entry of water into
the cell was measured as the change in water potential
with time. The graph shows the results of this
Describe and explain the results
obtained. [8]

10 The rate of movement of molecules or ions across a cell

surface membrane is affected by the relative concentrations
of themolecules or ions on either side of the membrane. The
graphs below show the effect of concentration difference
(the steepness of the concentration gradient) on
three transport processes, namely diffusion, facilitated
diffusion and activetransport.

a With reference to the graphs, state what

the three transport processes have in
b Explain the rates of transport observed
when the concentration difference is zero.
c i Which one of the processes would stop
if a respiratory inhibitor were added?[1]
ii Explain your answer.[2]
d Explain the difference between the
graphs for diffusion and facilitated
diffusion.[5] [Total: 12]

11 When a cell gains or loses water, its volume

changes. The graphs overleaf show changes in
the water potential (Ψ), pressure potential
(Ψ) and solute potential (Ψ) of a plant cell as
its volume changes as a result of gaining or
losing water. (Note that 80% relative cell volume
means the cell or protoplast has shrunk to 80%
of the volume it was at 100% relative cell

a What is a protoplast? [1]

b What is the pressure potential at 90%, 95% and 100% relative cell volume? [1]
ii Calculate the change in pressure potential between 90% and 95% relative cell volume
and between 95% and 100% relative cell volume,[2]
iii Explain why the pressure potential curve is not linear.[2]
iv State the water potential when the cell reaches maximum turgidity.[1]

The graph shows that as the cell loses water, pressure potential falls and the relative cell
volume decreases (the cell shrinks),
c i What is the minimum value of the pressure potential? [1]
ii In a shrinking cell, what is the relative cell volume when the minimum value of the
pressure potential is reached? [1]
iii What is the term used to describe the state of the cell at this point? [1]
iv What happens to the values of water potential and solute potential at this point? [1]
v State the equation which links Ψ p, Ψs and Ψ.[1]
vi Describe what is happening to the cell between the point identified in c ii and c iii above
and 80% relative cell volume.[5]
d As the cell changes volume, the change in solute potential is much less than the change
in pressure potential. Suggest an explanation for this.[3] [Total: 20]

12 Thediagram shows the concentration in mmol dm -3 of two different ions inside a human
red blood cell and in the plasmaoutside the cell.

a Explain why these concentrations could not have occurred as a result of diffusion.[1]
b Explain how these concentrations could have been achieved.[2]
c If respiration of red blood cells is inhibited, the concentrations of potassium and sodium
ions inside the cells gradually change until they come into equilibrium with the plasma.
Explain this observation.[4]
[Total: 7]
End-of-chapter answers
1C 2D 3D
4 Information for constructing this table can be found on pages 72–73.
5 a Information for answering this question can be found on page 77 and in the answer to
SAQ 4.5.
b Information for answering this question can be found on page 77 and in the answer to
SAQ 4.5.
6 a A phosphate head (of phospholipid);
B fatty acid tail(s) (of phospholipid);
C phospholipid bilayer/membrane;
b i hydrophilic
ii hydrophobic
iii hydrophobic
iv hydrophilic
c ions move by diff usion;
channel has shape which is specifi c for particular ion;
channel is hydrophilic/water-fi lled/allows movement of polar substance;
ions move down concentration gradient;
d both intrinsic proteins;
both have specifi c shape;
e channel proteins have a fi xed shape/carrier proteins have a variable shape;
f width of C measured in mm;
mm converted to μm and μm converted to nm;
correct formula used magnifi cation: M = I/A = width of C ’ 7; accept mm, μm or nm;
correct answer in nm;

N.B. It could be argued that facilitated diff usion is controllable, because the number of
channel proteins in the membrane can aff ect the rate.

9 Description rate of entry of water is rapid at fi rst but slows down gradually;
until rate is zero/no further entry of water or water enters until water potential of cell =
water potential of pure water = 0 (= equilibrium);
exponential/not linear;
rate depends on/proportional to, diff erence in water potential between cell and external
solution; [max. 3]

water (always) moves from a region of higher water potential to a region of lower water
(in this case) by osmosis;
through partially permeable cell surface membrane of cell;
as cell fi lls with water, cell/protoplast expands and pressure (potential) increases;
until water potential of cell = zero/water potential of pure water;
cell wall rigid/will not stretch (far), and prevents entry of more water; cell is turgid; [max. 5]
[Total: 8]
10 a the greater the concentration diff erence, the greater the rate of transport; [1]
b (net) diff usion and facilitated diff usion only occur if there is a concentration, diff
erence/gradient, across the membrane
or at equilibrium/if no concentration diff erence,
there is no, net exchange/transport across membrane/rate of transport, is same in both
directions; AW
active transport can occur even if no concentration diff erence;
because molecules/ions are being pumped; AW [3]
c i active transport; [1]
ii active transport depends on a supply of ATP;
provided by respiration; [2]

d graph for diff usion is linear/straight line (with no maximum rate);

purely physical process/not dependent on transport proteins/channel or carrier proteins;
graph for facilitated diff usion is a curve with a maximum rate; AW
facilitated diff usion depends on presence of,
transport proteins/channel or carrier proteins;
as concentration increases, the receptor sites of these proteins become more and more
the more saturated these become, the less the eff ect of increasing concentration;
rate reaches a maximum when all, transport/channel or carrier proteins, are working at full
capacity/when all receptor sites are, full/saturated;
N.B. Th is is similar to the eff ect of substrate concentration on rate of enzyme activity.
[max. 5] [Total: 12]

11 a the living contents of a plant cell; [1]

b i at 90% = 22 kPa (accept 21 or 23 kPa), at 95% = 100 kPa, at 100% = 350 kPa; [1]
ii change 90–95 % = 78 kPa (accept 77 or 79 kPa); change 95–100% = 250 kPa; [2]
iii as water enters the cell, the cell wall is stretched/protoplast pushes against cell wall;
cell wall is (relatively) rigid;
water cannot be compressed;
therefore pressure builds up more and more rapidly (for given volume of water)/small
increase in amount of water has large eff ect on pressure; AW [max. 2]
(This could be compared with pumping up a bicycle tyre – pressure increases much more
rapidly for a given amount of air towards the end due to the elastic limit of the tyre being
iv 350 kPa; [1]
c i zero (kPa); [1]
ii 86%; [1]
iii incipient plasmolysis; [1]
iv water potential = solute potential; [1]
v ψ = ψs + ψp ; [1]
vi the cell continues to lose water/protoplast continues to shrink;
protoplast pulls away from cell wall = plasmolysis;
shrinks until equilibrium is reached;
when water potential of cell = water potential of outside solution;
solute potential gets lower/more negative;
because cell contents becoming more concentrated; [max. 5]
d only a small amount of water is needed to bring about a large change in pressure;
because the cell wall is (relatively) rigid;
this is not enough to signifi cantly change the concentration of the cell contents; AW [3]
[Total: 20]

12 a if it were diff usion, there would be (net) movement of ions from a region of higher
concentration to a region of lower concentration until equilibrium is reached when
inside = concentration outside; AW [1]
R because concentrations diff erent inside and outside
b active transport;
active transport involves pumping ions against a concentration gradient; [2]
c if respiration is inhibited, no ATP is produced;
active transport uses ATP as energy source;
active transport stops;
diff usion continues;
ions move down concentration gradients by diff usion until equilibrium reached; [max.
4] [Total: 7]


# 23. DNA structure

In the nucleus of each cell, the DNA molecule is packaged into thread-like structures called
chromosomes. Each chromosome is made up of DNA tightly coiled many times around
proteins called histones that support its structure.

 Chromosomes are not visible in the cell‘s nucleus—not even under a microscope—
when the cell is not dividing. However, the DNA that makes up chromosomes
becomes more tightly packed during cell division and is then visible under a

 Each chromosome has a constriction point called the centromere, which divides the
chromosome into two sections, or ―arms.‖ The short arm of the chromosome is
labeled the ―p arm.‖ The long arm of the chromosome is labeled the ―q arm.‖ The
location of the centromere on each chromosome gives the chromosome its
characteristic shape, and can be used to help describe the location of specific genes.

 A chromatid is 1 of the 2 identical strands of DNA that make uo a chromosome. 2

chromatids are joined by a centromere. Before replication, 1 chromosome is
composed of 1 DNA molecule. Following S phase of interphase, each chromosome
now composed of 2 DNA molecules (DNA replication ↑ the amount of DNA but does
not ↑ the number of chromosomes.) The 2 identical copies are called chromatids.
They are normaly identical (homozygous) but may have slight differences due to
mutations (heterozygous).

Telomere is molecular protective cap of chromosomes.

 Telomere is a region of repetitive nucleotide sequences at each end of a chromatid,

which protects the end of the chromosome from deterioration or from fusion with
neighbouring chromosomes. It is essential for maintaining the integrity and stability
of linear eukaryotic genomes.
 During chromosome replication, the enzymes that duplicate DNA cannot continue
their duplication all the way to the end of a chromosome, so in each duplication the
end of the chromosome is shortened. The telomeres are disposable buffers at the
ends of chromosomes which are truncated (shortened) during cell division; their
presence protects the genes on the chromosome from being truncated instead.

 Telomere length regulation and maintenance contribute to normal human cellular

aging and human diseases.

# 24. Mitosis

Mitosis is a nuclear division giving rise to genetically identical cells in which the
chromosome number is maintained by the exact duplication of chromosome.

Significance of mitosis

 production of geneticlly identical cells: It keeps the chromosome number constant

and genetic stability in daughter cells, so the linear heredity of an organism is

 growth: a single cell divides repeatedly to produce all the cells in the adult organism

 repair of tissue and cell replacement: produce new cells to replace ones that have
been damaged (repair and generation of lost parts) or worn out (healing of wouds).

 asexual reproduction: a single parent gives rise to genetically identical offspring

Strictly speaking, mitosis is division of the nucleus of the cell. After this, the cell itself
usually divides as well (cytokinesis).

The cell cycle

The cell cycle is the continuous cycle of growth and mitotic division. It has 2 major
phases: Interfase and Miotic phase.

1. Interphase (between mitotic events) has 3 stages:

 G1-phase (Gap 1 phase): cells "monitor" their environment, and when the requisite
signals are received, the cells synthesize RNA and proteins to induce growth.

 S-phase (Synthesis phase): replication of DNA. Each original chromosome has 1

DNA molecule --> after replication each chromosome has 2 identical DNA molecules
(2 chromatids), they are joined together at the centromere.

 G2- phase (Gap 2 phase): cells continue to grow and prepare for mitosis.
Organelles (mitochondria and chloroplasts) are replicated.

For most of the cell cycle, the cell continues with its normal activities. It also grows (produce
new molecules of proteins and other substances --> increase the quantity of cytoplasm in
the cell).

2. Miotic phase (M-phase): The mother cell divides into 2 genetically identical daughter
a. Mitosis (nuclear division):

 2 chromatids split apart and move to opposite ends of

the cell.
 A new nuclear envelope forms around each group.
 These 2 nuclei each contain a complete set of DNA
molecules identical to those in the original (parent) cell.
 Mitosis produces 2 genetically identical nuclei from one
parent nucleus.

b. Cytokinesis (cell division):

 The cell divides into 2 daughter cells (genetically identical to

each other and their parent cell).

Stages of Mitosis

1. Prophase

 The nuclear membrane breaks down to form a number of small vesicles and the
nucleolus disappears.
 The centrosome duplicates to form 2 daughter centrosomes that migrate to
opposite ends of the cell.
 The mitotic spindle forms: the centrosomes organise the production of microtubules
that form the spindle fibres of the mitotic spindle.
 Chromosomes become more coiled and can be viewed under a light microscope.
 Each replicated chromosome can now be seen to consist of 2
identical chromatids held by the centromere.

2. Metaphase


 The chromosomes, led by their centromeres, migrate to the equatorial

plane (the metaphase plate) in the mid-line of the cell, at right-angles to the axis
formed by the centrosomes.
 Chromosome forms a kinetochore at each side of the centromere, to which the
individual spindle fibres are attached.
 The chromosomes continue to condense.


 The chromosomes align themselves along the metaphase plate of the spindle

3. Anaphase

 The centromeres divide, and the sister chromatids of each chromosome are
pulled apart and move to the opposite ends of the cell, pulled by spindle fibres
attached to the kinetochore regions.
 The separated sister chromatids are now referred to as daughter chromosomes.

The alignment and separation in metaphase and anaphase ensure that each daughter cell
receives a copy of every chromosome.

4. Telophase

 The nuclear membrane reforms around the chromosomes grouped at either pole of
the cell.
 The chromosomes uncoil and become diffuse.
 The spindle fibres disappear.

#25. Control of cell division, Stem cell, Haploid and Diploid cells
Each cell contains genes that help to control
when it divides. Cells divide by mitosis only
when required. When receives signals from
neighbouring cells, it responds by dividing or
not dividing.

If this control goes wrong, cells may not

divide when they should (growth does not
take place, or wounds do not heal) or they
may divide when they should not (a tumour
may form).

1. Cancer and uncontroled cell division

 In cancer: genes that control cell division mutate --> cell divide over and over again,
forming an irregular mass of cells.
 In malignant tumour: some of cancer cells may break off and start to form new
tumours elsewhere in the body.
 Several genes must mutate before a cell becomes cancerous. This can happen just
by chance.
 The risk is increased by factors that cause mutation (carcinogenic factors):

- ionising radiation (from X ray and radioactive sources emitting α, β or γ radiation)

- ultraviolet radiation (in sunlight)
- chemicals (e.g. asbestos, some component in tar from tobacco smoke)
- viruses (e.g. human papilloma virus - HPV, causing cervical cancer).

2. Significance of mitosis in cell replacement and tissue repair by stem cells

 Stem cells are undifferentiated biological cells that can differentiate into specialized
cells and can divide to produce more stem cells.
 They are present both during embryonic development (embryonic stem cells) and in
the adult body (adult stem cells).
 In adult organisms, stem cells act as a repair system for the body, replenishing
adult tissues.
 They divide by mitosis to form either two stem cells, thus increasing the size of the
stem cell "pool", or one daughter that goes on to differentiate, and one daughter that
retains its stem-cell properties.

Niche cells (green) underlying a basement membrane signal to stem cells (red)
to block differentiation and regulate division.
The stem cell divides such that one daughter retains its connections to the niche,
while the other (yellow) becomes untethered (released) and begins to differentiate.

3. Haploid and Diploid cells

Haploid cells

 Haploid cells are cells that contain only 1 complete

set of chromosomes. The most common type of
haploid cells is gametes, or sex cells.

 Haploid cells are produced from diploid cells

by meiosis (each daughter cell gets only half of the
original number of chromosomes).

 In human, when the sperm and egg (haploid celss with 1 set of 23 chromosomes)
fused together, this produced a diploid zygote with 2 sets of chromosomes (46
chromosomes). As this cell divided by mitosis, each daughter cell obtained a
complete copy of each set.

Diploid cells

 Most of the cells in the body are diploid cells, they contain 2 complet sets of
chromosomes, 1 from mother and one from father. Each cell has 46 chromosomes.

 Diploid cells reproduce using mitosis, which creates a completely identical copy of
the cell.

 Meiosis help to produce haploid cells from diploid cells (it is a reduction division,
because it reduces the number of chromosomes in a cell by half). Meiosis must take
place at some point in the life cycle before fertilisation. In humans, it only happens in
the testes and ovaries.

#26. Summary of Cell and Nuclear division

1. Growth of a multicellular organism is a result of parent cells dividing to produce

genetically identical daughter cells.

2. During cell division the nucleus divides first, followed by division of the whole cell.

3. Division of a nucleus to produce two genetically identical nuclei is achieved by the

process of mitosis.

4. Mitosis is used in growth, repair, asexual reproduction and cloning of cells during an
immune response.

5. Although a continuous process, mitosis can be divided for convenience into 4 phases:
prophase, metaphase, anaphase and telophase. The phase between successive nuclear
and cell divisions is called interphase. Replication of DNA takes place during interphase so
that the new cells will each have identical DNA.

6. The period from one cell division to the next is called the cell cycle. It has four stages or
phases: G1 is a growth stage, S (for synthesis) is when the DNA replicates, G2 is a second
growth stage, and nuclear and cell division. G1, S and G2 are collectively known as

7. In a life cycle involving sexual reproduction, the gametes have one set of chromosomes,
a condition known as haploid. The cell produced by fusion of the gametes, the zygote, has
two sets of chromosomes, a condition known as diploid. In such a life cycle it is therefore
essential that a type of nuclear division occurs which reduces the number of chromosomes
from two sets to one set. This type of nuclear division is called meiosis and must take place
at some point in the life cycle before fertilisation.

8. All the cells in the human body are diploid, apart from the gametes, which are haploid.

9. Cancers are a result of uncontrolled cell division.

10. A number of physical and chemical factors can increase the chances of cancer. Agents
which are known to have caused cancer are described as carcinogenic. Examples are
asbestos (chemical) and ionising radiation (physical).

11. Certain viruses, such as papilloma virus, can cause cancer. Genetic predisposition or
inheritance of certain mutant genes may also contribute to the risk of cancer.

Multiple - choice Test

1. What explains why organisms use mitosis to produce new cells for growth and repair?

A Daughter cells are genetically identical to the parent cell.

B Daughter cells are not able to divide again.
C Daughter cells have the same genes switched on as the parent cell.
D Daughter cells look identical to the parent cell.

2. Which event in the mitotic cell cycle ensures that daughter cells are genetically identical?

A A spindle is formed.
B DNA replicates to form sister chromatids.
C The centriole replicates.
D The nuclear envelope disappears.

3. The photomicrograph shows a cell during the mitotic cell cycle.

Which of the following describes this cell?

A an animal cell in anaphase of mitosis

B an animal cell in metaphase of mitosis
C a plant cell in prophase of mitosis
D a plant cell in telophase of mitosis

4. Which two processes in humans require the production of daughter cells that are not
genetically identical to the parent cell?

A gamete production and asexual reproduction

B gamete production and fertilisation
C growth and fertilisation
D growth and repair

5. The tumour suppressor gene, p53, codes for a protein which helps to prevent some
cancer cells from multiplying. Another gene codes for a protein, RAD51, which encourages
the repair of damaged DNA.
Which row shows the circumstances most likely to result in uncontrolled cell division of a
cancerous cell?

6. Which statement is correct?

A A haploid cell is a eukaryotic cell containing only one of each pair of homologous
B A haploid cell is a prokaryotic cell containing one complete set of chromosomes.
C A diploid cell is a eukaryotic cell containing only two chromosomes.
D A diploid cell is a prokaryotic cell containing two complete sets of chromosomes.

7. The diagram shows an animal life cycle.


8. Some events that occur in the mitotic cell cycle are listed.

1 Centrioles begin to move towards opposite poles of the cell.

2 Centrioles produce a spindle.
3 Chromatids are pulled to opposite poles of the cell.
4 Chromosomes line up on the equator of the cell.
5 Chromosomes become longer and thinner.
6 Nuclear envelope and nucleoli disappear.

Which row correctly matches one of these events with each stage of mitosis?

9. Some events in the development of a cancer are listed.

1 Tumour cells invade other tissues.

2 Cell subjected to carcinogens.
3 Tumour increases in size.
4 Cell does not respond to signals from other cells and continues
to divide.
5 Genes that control the mitotic cell cycle mutate.

Which sequence of events describes the development of a cancer?


10. The diagram shows the four pairs of chromosomes found in the nuclei of the body cells
of an adult fruit fly, Drosophila.

Answers for Multiple-choice Test

1 A 2 B 3 A 4 B 5 B 6 A 7 A 8 D 9 B 10 A

End-of-chapter questions

1 During prophase of mitosis, chromosomes consist of rwo chromatids. At which stage of

the cell cycle is the second chromatid made?

A cytokinesis
B G1
C G2

2 Growth of cells and their division are balanced during the cell
cycle. Which column shows the consequences that would
follow from the two errors shown in the table?

3 Adiploid cell undergoes a cell

cycle including mitosis. Which diagram correctly shows the changes in chromoso
me number during interphase?

4a Distinguish between the following terms:

i haploid and diploid
ii centromere and centriole
b Briefly explain what is meant by the following terms:
i autosome
ii homologous chromosomes

5 Thediagram shows three cells (labelled A, B and C) from a

root tip which have been stained to show chromosomes.

a Identify the stage of mitosis shown by each cell.

b Describe what is happening at each stage.

6 Diagram 1 shows the life cycle of a simple plant known as a

liverwort. Liverworts have two multicellular stages in life cycle: one is
haploid and produces gametes; the other is diploid and produces spores.

a Copy diagram 1 and write 'mitosis' on one of the arrows in the life cycle
where mitosis would take place.[1]
b Write 'meiosis' where meiosis would need to take place.[1]
c Explain why meiosis is needed in this life cycle.[3]

d Diagram 2 shows a cell of a liverwort plant dividing by mitosis. Only two of

the many chromosomes are shown for simplicity.
i What stage of mitosis is shown? [1]
ii Is this cell haploid or diploid? Explain your answer.[3]
iii Draw prophase for the same cell (assume the cell
has only two chromosomes, as in diagram 2).[1]
e Diagram 3 shows the same cell at telophase. The cell is beginning to divide and a
new cell wall is forming, spreading out from the middle of
the cell. Copy the diagram and add drawings of the chromosomes as they
would appear at this stage.[1]
[Total: 7]

7 Microtubulesare tiny tubes made of protein subunits which join together. The
protein is called tubulin. Colchicine isa natural chemical which binds to tubulin molecules,
thus preventing the formation of microtubules.

a Why should the binding of colchicine to

tubulin molecules interfere with the formation of microtubules? [2]

b What structure or structures involved in mitosis are made of

microtubules? [2]
c When cells treated with colchicine are observed, the dividing cells are all
seen to be in the same stage of mitosis. Suggestwith reasons the identity of
this stage. [3]
[Total: 7]

Diagram1 shows chromosomes in the nucleus of a diploid cell.

a Draw the nucleus of a

gamete produced from this cell. [1]
b What type of nuclear division would be
used in the production of the gamete? [1]
c Draw a diagram to
show what the nucleus would look like in anaphase
of mitosis.[3]

Diagrams 2 and 3
below show the same diploid nucleus as in diagram1. However, the chromosomes
have been shaded.

d State what the different types of shading represent in each nucleus.[2]

e Draw a karyogram based on the diploid nucleus shown in all 3 diagrams.[3]
[Total: 10]

9 Humans have 46 chromosomes in each body cell. Six cells are shown in
the diagram below.
a Copy the diagram. For e ch cell, insert in the circle the number of
chromosomes it contains. [3]
b What type of nuclear division takes place at X? [1]
[Total: 4]

Answers to End-of-chapter questions

1D 2B 3D
4 a i haploid (cell or organism) has one set of chromosomes;
diploid has two sets of chromosomes;
ii centromere is region of a chromosome that holds two chromatids together;
centriole is an organelle;
found (in pairs) just outside nucleus;
microtubule organising centres/starting points for growing microtubules (for spindle);
b i a non-sex chromosome;
ii a pair of chromosomes that have the same structure;
same genes;
pair up during meiosis (forming a bivalent);
found in diploid cells;
5 a A anaphase; B prophase; C metaphase;
b Information for this answer can be found in Figure 5.10 on page 92 in the Coursebook.

6 a ‗mitosis‘ label added to one of the ‗growth‘ arrows or to the arrow between gamete-
producing stage and gametes; [1]
b ‗meiosis‘ label added to arrow between spore- producing stage and unicellular
spores; [1]
c gamete-producing stage is haploid and spore- producing stage is diploid;
chromosome number would double every generation if no meiosis;
because life cycle includes sexual reproduction; haploid gametes fuse to form
diploid zygote/when gametes fuse chromosome number, doubles/changes, from one set
to two sets/gametes must be haploid and there is a diploid stage in the life
cycle; [max. 3]
d i metaphase; [1]
ii haploid;
if it were diploid there would be, four pairs of chromatids/two long pairs of chromatids
and two short pairs of chromatids, lined up on the equator;
chromosomes are lined up separately/not paired in homologous pairs as they would
be in meiosis;3]
iii prophase drawing shows two single chromosomes, each with a centromere (not paired
chromatids), ‗randomly‘ distributed, surrounded by cell surface membrane but with no
spindle; [1]
e a long and a short chromatid, each with a centromere, are shown inside each new
nucleus; [1]
[Total: 11]
7 a microtubules are made out of tubulin molecules; the tubulin molecules stick together in
a particular pattern to form the microtubules,
so the presence of colchicine would interfere with this;
AW [2]
b spindle;
centrioles; [2]
c (held up in) prophase;
spindle cannot form (due to presence of colchicine);
so metaphase cannot occur;
metaphase, normally follows prophase/is next stage of mitosis; [max. 3]
[Total: 7]

8 a one long, one short and one hooked chromosome present inside a circle
(nucleus); [1]
b meiosis; [1]
c six chromatids about half way between equator and each pole (12 chromatids in all);
two long, two short, two hooked in each direction;
centromere leading for each chromatid; [3]
d in diagram 2, shading represent sets of chromosomes/one type of shading represents
set of chromosomes from mother, other type of shading represents set of chromosomes
from father; AW
in diagram 3, shading represent homologous pairs of chromosomes/differently numbered
chromosomes; AW [2]
e only chromosomes drawn (no nuclear envelope); three separate homologous pairs
drawn side by side;
pairs arranged in order of size, starting with
largest; [3]
[Total: 10]
9 a body cells 46;
sperm and egg 23;
zygote 46; [3]
b mitosis; [1] [Total: 4]


# 27. DNA structurer and replication

DNA molecule consists of nucleotides in which the sugar component

is deoxyribose whereas the RNA molecule has nucleotides in which the sugar is a ribose.



 are monomers for nucleic acid polymers, such as DNA and RNA. The genetic
material (DNA) is a polymer of 4 different nucleotides. The genetic information is
coded in the sequence of nucleotides in a DNA molecule.

 adenosine triphosphate (ATP) - the nucleotide molecule that doesn't include the
phosphate group - is energy carrier in metabolic pathways.

 are components of some important coenzymes: flavin adenine dinucleotide

(FAD), nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP) and Coenzyme A.

They consist of:

1. A 5-carbon sugar (deoxyribose in DNA; ribose in RNA)

2. a phosphate group.
3. a 1 or 2 ring nitrogen-containing base

The bases are usually referred to by their first letters:

 A = adenin,
 G =guamine,
 C = cystosine,
 T = thymine (methyl +uracil)
 U = uracil.

 A and G = purine bases (2 carbon-nitrogen rings).

 C, T and U = pyrimidine bases (1 carbon-nitrogen ring).

Nucleotides bond together to make nucleic acids. They form covalent

bonds between the phosphate group of one and the sugar of another.
This takes place through a condensation reaction.

Structure of DNA and RNA

DNA and RNA are polynucleotides (long chains of nucleotides).

DNA = A, G, C, T
RNA = A, G, C, U

+ RNA molecule - a single strand (may be folded up on itself).


+ DNA molecule

 2 strands run in opposite directions (anti-parallel) and twist round each other -->
double helix.
 There are H bonds between the bases on the 2 strands.
 H bonding only occurs between A-T and C-G (complementary base pairing).

The significance of complementary base pairing

 Only certain pairings of bases are possible ( A-T and G-C) => 2 strands of the
double helix are complementary, each the predictable counterpart of the other.

 Since the 2 strands of DNA are complimentary, they can separate from one another
and each can serve as a template for building a new partner (if you know the
sequence of one DNA strand then you can easily figure out the sequence of the
other strand).

 Thus, DNA replication is semi-conservative, with each of the two daughter DNA
molecules having one old strand derived from the parent and one newly made

 The complementary base pairing results in the two daughter DNA molecules being

DNA Replication

New DNA molecules need to be made before a cell can divide. The 2 daughter cells must
each receive a complete set of DNA. The base sequences on the new DNA molecules must
be identical with those on the original set. DNA replication takes place in the nucleus,
during interphase.

Semi-conservative DNA replication

• Hydrogen bonds between the bases along part of the two strands are broken. This 'unzips'
part of the molecule, separating the two strands.

• Nucleotides that are present in solution in the nucleus are moving randomly around. By
chance, a free nucleotide will bump into a newly exposed one with which it can form
hydrogen bonds. Free nucleotides therefore pair up with the nucleotides on each of the
DNA strands, always A with T and C with G. DNA polymerase links together the phosphate
and deoxyribose groups of adjacent

 As each strand retains half of the original DNA material, this method of replication is
called semi-consservative.

3 types of DNA replication

 Semi-conservative replication: each new DNA has 1 old strand and 1 new one.

 Conservative replication: each new DNA has 2 new strands containing all of the
new DNA base pairs. The two original template DNA strands stay together in a
double helix.

 Dispersive replication: each new DNA has distinct regions of DNA composed of
either both original strands or both new strands.

# 28. The genetic code - protein synthesis

The genetic code specifies the amino acids that are assembled to make polypeptides.
The way that DNA codes for polypeptides is central to our understanding of how cells and
organisms function.

A polypeptide is coded for by a gene and that a gene is a sequence of nucleotides

that forms part of a DNA molecule.

The sequence of bases in a DNA molecule is a code that determines the sequence in which
amino acids are linked together when making a protein molecule. A sequence of DNA
nucleotldes that codes for 1 polypeptide, or for 1protein, is known as a gene.

The sequence of amino acids in a protein - its primary structure determines its 3-
dimensional shape and therefore its properties and functions. For example, the primary
structure of an enzyme determines the shape of its active site, and therefore the substrate
with which it can bind.

A series of 3 bases in a DNA molecule, called a base triplet, codes for 1 amino acid. The
DNA strand that is used in protein synthesis is called the template strand. For example,
this is the sequence of amino acids coded for by the template strand of a particular length
of DNA:

There are 20 amino acids. Because there are 4 bases, there are 43 - 64 different possible
combinations of bases in a triplet. Some amino acids therefore are coded for by more than
1 triplet. For example, the triplets AAA and AAG both code for the amino acid
phenylalanine. The code is therefore said to be degenerate.

Protein synthesis

Proteins are made on the ribosomes in the cytoplasm, by linking together amino acids
through peptide bonds. The sequence in which the amino acids are linked is determined by
the sequence of bases on a length of DNA in the nucleus.

Translation and transcription


The first step in protein synthesis is the transcription of messenger RNA (mRNA) from
a DNA gene in the nucleus.

 In the nucleus, the double helix of the DNA is unzipped, exposing the bases on each

 There are 4 types of free RNA nucleotides in the nucleus, with the bases A, C,G and
U. The RNA nucleotides form H bonds with the exposed bases on the template
strand of the DNA.

 They pair up like this:

 As the RNA nucleotides slot into place next to their complementary bases on the
DNA, the enzyme RNA polymerase links them together (through their sugar and
phosphate groups) to form a long chain of RNA nucleotides. This is
an mRNA molecule. It contains a complementary copy of the base sequence on the
template strand of part of a DNA molecule.


 If the DNA coded for tRNA and rRNA, then the transcript is cut and the tRNA and
rRNA are released.

 If the DNA codes for protein, then the information carried in the sequence of RNA
(mRNA) must be translated into a sequence of amino acids. Because we are
changing ―languages‖, moving from a language of nucleotides to a language of
amino acids, this process is called translation.

 The process of translating information from RNA to protein will require:

- mRNA (copy of the original document)

- genetic code (translational dictionary)
- tRNA carrying the amino acid (a translator)
- ribosome (a writing desk, a place to do the work).

 The mRNA molecule breaks away from the DNA, and moves out of the nucleus into
the cytoplasm. In the cytoplasm, 20 different types of amino acids are present.

 There are also many different types of transfer RNA (tRNA) molecules. Each tRNA
molecule is made up of a single strand of RNA nucleotides, twisted round on itself to
form a clover-leaf shape. There is a group of 3 exposed bases, called an anticodon.
There is also a position at which a particular amino acid can be loaded by a specific

tRNA molecule. Credit Pearson.

 tRNA becomes attached to a ribosome. Triplets of nucleotides (codons) on the

mRNA molecule fit into the anticodons of transfer RNA molecules that carry amino
acids around inside the cell.

 The amino acid that can be loaded onto the tRNA is determined by the base
sequence of its anticodon. For example, a tRNA whose anticodon is UAC will be
loaded with the amino acid methionine.

 A tRNA molecule with the complementary anticodon to the first codon on the mRNA,
and carrying its appropriate amino acid, slots into place next to it in the ribosome,
and hydrogen bonds form between the bases. Then a second tRNA does the same
with the next mRNA codon.

 Two codons fit into a groove in the ribosome. The first codon is generally AUG,
which is known as a start codon. It codes for the amino acid methionine.

 The amino acids carried by the two adjacent tRNAs are then linked by a peptide

The mRNA is then moved along one place in the ribosome, and a third tRNA slots into
place against the next mRNA codon. A third amino acid is added to the chain.

Credit: Pearson.

 The ribosomes combine the amino acids to form the finished protein.

 This continues until a stop codon is reached on the mRNA. This is a codon that
does not code for an amino acid, such as UGA. The polypeptide (long chain of
amino acids) that has been formed breaks away.

 This process of building a chain of amino acids following the code on an mRNA
molecule is called translation.

# 29. Gene mutation, sickle cell anaemia

A gene mutation is a change in the sequence of nucleotides that may result in an

altered polypeptide.

A mutation is a random, unpredictable change in the DNA in a cell. It may be:

• a change in the sequence of bases in one part of a DNA molecule

• an addition of extra DNA to a chromosome or a loss of ONA from it
• a change in the total number of chromosomes in a cell.

Mutations are most likely to occur during DNA replication, for example when a 'wrong' base
may slot into position in the new strand being built. Almost all of these mistakes are
immediately repaired by enzymes, but some may persist.

Single point mutation.

A change in the sequence of bases in DNA may result in a change in the sequence of
amino acids in a protein. (Note that this does not always happen, because there is more
than one triplet that codes for each amino acid, so a change in a triplet may not change the
amino acid that is coded for.) This in turn may result in a change in the 3-D structure of the
protein and therefore the way that it behaves.

Sickle cell anaemia


An example of a mutation is a change in the gene that codes for one of the polypeptides in
a Hb molecule. In the genetic disease sickle cell anaemia, the gene that codes for
the β polypeptide has the base T where it should have the base A. This means that one
triplet is different, so a different amino acid is used when the polypeptide chain is
constructed on a ribosome.

The abnormal β polypeptide has the amino acid valine where it should have the amino
acid glutamic acid. The normal form of Hb is called HbA, the abnormal Hb is called sickle
cell Hb (HbS)

These amino acids are on the outside of the Hb molecule when it takes up its tertiary and
quaternary shapes.

 Glutamic acid is a hydrophilic amino acid. It interacts with water molecules, helping
to make the haemoglobin molecule soluble.

 Valine is a hydrophobic amino acid. It does not interact with water molecules,
making the haemoglobin molecule less soluble.

When the abnormal Hb is in an area of low oxygen concentration, the Hb molecules stick to
one another, forming a big chain of molecules that is not soluble and therefore forms long
fibres. This pulls the red blood cells out of shape, making them sickle-shaped instead of
round. They are no longer able to move easily through the blood system and may get stuck
in capillaries. This is very painful and can be fatal.

#30. Summary of Genetic control

1. DNA and RNA are polynucleotides, made up of long chains of nucleotides.

2. A nucleotide contains a pentose sugar, a phosphate group and a nitrogen-containing

base. In RNA the sugar is ribose, and in DNA it is deoxyribose.

3. A DNA molecule consists of two polynucleotide chains, linked by hydrogen bonds

between bases. There are four bases – adenine always pairs with thymine, and cytosine
with guanine. RNA, which comes in several diff erent forms, has only one polynucleotide
chain, although this may be twisted back on itself, as in tRNA. In RNA, the base thymine is
replaced by uracil.

4. DNA molecules replicate during interphase by semi-conservative replication. Th e

hydrogen bonds between the bases break, allowing free nucleotides to fall into position
opposite their complementary ones on each strand of the original DNA molecule. Adjacent
nucleotides are then linked, through their phosphates and sugars, to form new strands. Two
complete new molecules are thus formed from one old one, each new molecule containing
one old strand and one new.

5. The sequence of nucleotide bases on a DNA molecule codes for the sequence of amino
acids in a polypeptide. Each amino acid is coded for by three bases. A length of DNA
coding for just one polypeptide is a gene.

6. A change in the nucleotide sequence of DNA is a mutation, producing a new allele of the

7. The DNA sequences for the HbA (normal) and HbS (sickle cell) alleles of the gene for the
β-globin polypeptide diff er by only one base. Th e triplet CTT in HbA is replaced by CAT in
HbS, changing the amino acid glutamic acid to valine. This single diff erence in the
polypeptide results in sickle cell anaemia in individuals with two HbS alleles.

8. During protein synthesis, a complementary copy of the base sequence on a gene is

made, by building a molecule of messenger RNA (mRNA) against one DNA strand. Th is
stage is called transcription.

9. After transcription, the next stage is called translation. In this stage the mRNA moves to a
ribosome in the cytoplasm. Transfer RNA (tRNA) molecules with complementary triplets of
bases temporarily pair with base triplets on the mRNA, bringing appropriate amino acids.
As two amino acids are held side by side, a peptide bond forms between them. The
ribosome moves along the mRNA molecule, so that appropriate amino acids are gradually
linked together, following the sequence laid down by the base sequence on the mRNA.

Multiple-choice Test
1 What is found in both DNA and messenger RNA (mRNA)?

A deoxyribose
B double helix
C sugar–phosphate chain
D thymine

2 In DNA extracted from rat bone marrow, 29% of the bases were found to be adenine.
What was the proportion of cytosine?
A 58%
B 42%
C 29%
D 21%

3 The diagram shows part of a nucleic acid.

What is represented by X?
A a base pair
B a nucleotide
C a polynucleotide
D a purine

4 Which statement about base pairing is not correct?

A Adenine can pair with either thymine or uracil.
B Thymine pairs only with adenine.
C Cytosine makes two hydrogen bonds with guanine.
D Purine bases only pair with pyrimidine bases.

5 Which statements describe RNA?

1 composed of phosphate, deoxyribose, adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine
2 backbone is a ribose–phosphate chain
3 each molecule consists of two chains
4 consists of a chain of nucleotides linked through phosphates and sugars

A 1, 2 and 3 only
B 1 and 2 only
C 2 and 3 only
D 2 and 4 only

6 The diagram shows part of a DNA molecule before replication.


Which diagram shows a daughter molecule?

7 A single base substitution in the gene coding for the β-globin polypeptide results in a
change in the amino acid sequence.

Which statements describe what happens when haemoglobin containing polypeptides

coded from the sickle cell allele, HbS, is not combined with oxygen?

1 The haemoglobin molecules are much less soluble.

2 The haemoglobin molecules form long fibres.
3 Red cells become distorted in shape.
4 Red cells become stuck in small capillaries.

A 1, 2, 3 and 4
B 1, 2 and 3 only
C 2 and 4 only
D 3 and 4 only

8 What is synthesised during transcription?

D polypeptide

9 A mutation takes place in a DNA triplet coding for the amino acid tyrosine. The triplet ATA
is changed to ATG.

The mRNA codons for tyrosine are UAU and UAC.

The mRNA codons signalling ‗stop‘ are UAA, UAG and UGA.

What is the effect of the mutation?

A The mutated triplet codes for ‗stop‘.

B The mutated triplet codes for a different amino acid.
C The mutated triplet is meaningless.
D The mutated triplet still codes for tyrosine.

10 In most organisms, the mRNA codons signalling ‗stop‘ in translation are UAA, UAG and
UGA. In the microorganism Methanosarcina barkeri, UAG codes for an amino acid.
Which tRNA carrying an amino acid will be found in M. barkeri but not in most organisms?

Answers for Multiple - choice Test

1 C 2 D 3 B 4 C 5 D 6 B 7 A 8 B 9 D 10 C

End-of-chapter questions
1. What can be found in both DNA and messenger RNA (mRNA)?

A double helix structure

B sugar-phosphate chain
C ribose
D thymine

2. Which statement about base pairing in nucleic acids is not correct?

A Adenine can pair with either thymine or uracil.

B Guanine only pairs with cytosine.
C Thymine can pair with either adenine or uracil.
D Uracil only pairs with adenine.

3. How many different arrangements of four bases into triplets can be made?
A 3+4
C 34
D 43

4. Look at the structures of nucleotides in Figure below:

Draw a nucleotide that could be found:

a in either DNA or RNA
b only in DNA
c only in RNA.

5. Distinguish berween a nucleotide and a nucleic acid.

6. Copy the drawing and annotate it to explain the replication of DNA.


7. Use Appendix 1 to find the sequence of amino acids that is coded by the following length
of messenger RNA (mRNA):

The table shows all the possible triplets of bases in a DNA molecule and what each codes
for. The three-letter abbreviation for each amino acid is, in most cases, the first three
letters of its full name - see Appendix 2.

Appendix 1
DNA triplet codes

Appendix 2
Amino acid R groups

8. The table shows all the messenger RNA (mRNA) codons for the amino acid leucine.
Copy the table and write in, for each codon, the transfer RNA (tRNA) anticodon that would
bind with it and the DNA triplet from which it was transcribed.

mRNAcodon tRNA DNA triplet from which mRNA

anticodon was transcribed

9. In most people, the first six amino acids in their β-globin polypeptide chains are:

1 2 3 4 5 6

Val-His-Leu-Thr-Pro-Glu-rest of chain

The DNA triplet coding for the sixth amino acid (Glu) in most people is CTT. In some
people this DNA triplet is CAT.

a What type of mutation is the change from CTT to CAT? [1]

b Use Appendix 1 to identify the amino acid in the β-globin polypeptide chains of people
with this mutation. [1]
c State the consequences for a person of having two copies of the mutated gene. [1]
[Total: 3]

10. Suggest why:

a a mutation in which one nucleotide of a triplet code is altered often makes no difference
to the protein molecule coded by the DNA [2]
b the addition or deletion of three nucleotides in the DNA sequence of a gene often has
less effect on the encoded protein than the addition or deletion of a single
nucleotide. [4]
[Total: 3]

11. Copy and complete the following table to distinguish between the processes of
transcription and translation.

Transcription Translation
site in cell where process occurs
molecule used as a template in process
molecule produced by process
component molecules used in process
other molecules that are essential for the process to

12. The drawing shows polyribosomes.

a Name X, Y and Z. [3]

b In which direction are the ribosomes moving? Explain how you were able to decide on
their direction of movement. [2]
[Total: 5]

Organism (tissue) Relative numbers of bases

Ox (spleen) 27.9 20.8 22.7 27.3
Ox (thymus) 28.2 21.2 21.5 27.8
Yest 31.3 17.1 18.7 32.9
Virus with single-stranded DNA 24.3 18.2 24.5 32.3


a the relative numbers of each base in ox spleen and thymus are the same, within
error [2]
b the relative numbers of each base in yeast are different from those in ox spleen or thymus
c the relative number of the bases A and T, or of C and G, are similar in ox and yeast [2]
d in the virus, the relative numbers of A and T, and of C and G, are not similar. [2]

Total: 8]
End-of-chapter answers

1B 2C 3D

a molecule made up of a pentose sugar, a phosphate group and a nitrogenous base;
nucleic acid:
a polymer of nucleotides/a polynucleotide;

6 Labels should include:

parent molecule;
daughter molecules;
parent/old strand acts as template;
new strands made from nucleotides binding to old strands by complementary base pairing;
7 Met-Phe-Pro-Asp-[stop];

9 a gene mutation/substitution; [1]

b Val/valine; [1]
c sickle cell anaemia; [1]
[Total: 3]

10 a many amino acids have more than one triplet code; so sequence of amino acids is
b adding or deleting three nucleotides may add or remove the coding for one amino acid;
this may not affect the final shape of the protein;
adding or deleting one nucleotide affects the arrangement of all subsequent triplets;
this ‗frameshift‘ may alter the coding of all amino acids following the addition or deletion;
a triplet may be altered to a stop
signal; [max. 4] [Total: 6]

Award 1 mark for each correct row. [5]

12 a X mRNA;
Y ribosome;
Z (poly)peptide chain/chain of amino acids; [3]
b from left to right;
increasing length of polypeptide chain; [2] [Total: 5]

13 a the DNA in the spleen and thymus of the same organism is the same;
the same genes are present in both organs; [2]
b the DNA in different species is diff erent;
different genes are present; [2]
c DNA has double helix/is double stranded;
the numbers of A and T, and of C and G, are similar because A pairs with T and C pairs
with G; [2]
d the DNA is single stranded;
no base pairing occurs; [2] [Total: 8]


#31. Summary of Genetic control

The transport system enables the rapid delivery of nutrients and O2 to
as well as the removal of metabolic waste products (including CO2)
from all cells of the body for survival.

All cells need to take in substances from their environment, and get
rid of unwanted substances.

In a single-celled organism, this can happen quickly enough by

diffusion alone. This
is because:

 no point in the cell is very far from the surface, so it does not
take long for gases to diffuse from the cell surface membrane
to the centre of the cell, or vice versa;
 the surface area to volume ratio of the cell is relatively large -
that is, it has a large amount of surface area compared to its
total volume.

In a large organism, diffusion is no longer sufficient. This is because:

 the centre of the organism may be a long way from the surface, so it would take too
long for substances to diffuse all that way;
 the surface area to volume ratio is much smaller - that Is, It has a small amount of
surface area compared to its total volume.

Large organisms solve these difficulties in two ways:

 they have transport systems that carry substances by mass flow from one part of the
body to another, rather than relying solely on diffusion;
 they increase the surface area of parts of the body involved in exchange with the
environment, for example by having thin, flat leaves or by having a highly folded gas
exchange surface.

#32. Structure of transport tissues in plants

Plants have 2 transport systems:

 xylem: transports water and inorganic ions

from the roots to the leaves.
 phloem: transports food made in the plant
(sucrose and amino acids) from the leaves to
the rest of the plant.

Both of these systems are rows of cells that make

continuous tubes running the full length of the plant.

Plants can be very large, but they have a branching

shape which helps to keep the surface area to
volume ratio fairly large. Their energy needs are
generally small compared with those of animals, so
respiration does not take place so quickly.

They can therefore rely on diffusion to supply their cells with O2 and to remove CO2. Their
leaves are very thin and have a large surface area inside them in contact with the air
spaces. This means that diffusion is sufficient to supply the mesophyll cells with CO2 for
photosynthesis, and to remove O2. Plant transport systems therefore do not transport

Transverse section of roots, stems and leaves of herbaceous dicotyledonous plants

1. Root

2. Stem

3. Leaf

Xylem tissue

Xylem tissue contains dead, empty cells with no end walls. These are called xylem vessel
elements. They are arranged in long lines to form xylem vessels. These are long, hollow
tubes through which water moves by mass flow from the roots to all other parts of the plant.

Xylem tissue.

#33. Movement of Water and Minerals in the Xylem

Most plants secure the water and minerals they need from
their roots.

The path taken is: soil -> roots -> stems -> leaves.

The minerals (e.g., K+, Ca2+) travel dissolved in the water.

Water and minerals enter the root by separate paths which

eventually converge in the stele.


 Transpiration is the loss of water from the plant

through evaporation at the leaf surface. It is the main driver of water movement in
the xylem. Transpiration is caused by the evaporation of water at the leaf, or
atmosphere interface; it creates negative pressure (tension) equivalent to –2 MPa at
the leaf surface.
 Water from the roots is pulled up by this tension. At night, when stomata close and
transpiration stops, the water is held in the stem and leaf by the cohesion of water
molecules to each other as well as the adhesion of water to the cell walls of the
xylem vessels and tracheids. This is called the cohesion–tension theory of sap

How water moves from soil to air

Water moves from the soil to the air through a plant down a water potential gradient. The
water potential in the soil is generally higher than in the air. The water potential in the
leaves is kept lower than the water potential in the soil because of the loss of water vapour
by transpiration. Transpiration maintains the water potential gradient.

• Water enters root hair cells by osmosis, moving down a water potential gradient from the
water in the spaces between soil particles, through the cell surface membrane and into the
cytoplasm and vacuole of the root hair cell.

• The water then moves from the root hair cell to a neighbouring cell by osmosis, down a
water potential gradient. This is called the symplast pathway.

• Water also seeps into the cell wall of the root hair cell. This does not involve osmosis, as
no partially permeable membrane is crossed. The water then seeps into and along the cell
walls of neighbouring cells. This is called the apoplast pathway. In most plant roots,
the apoplast pathway carries more water than the symplast pathway.

• When the water nears the centre of the root, it encounters a cylinder of cells called
the endodermis. Each cell has a ring of impermeable suberin around it, forming
the Casparlan strip. This prevents water continuing to seep through cell walls. It therefore
travels through these cells by the symplast pathway.

• The water moves into the xylem vessels from the endodermis.

• Water moves up the xylem vessels by mass flow - that is, in a similar way to water flowing
in a river. The water molecules are held together by hydrogen bonds between them,
keeping the water column unbroken. There is a relatively low hydrostatic pressure at the top
of the column, produced by the loss of water by transpiration. This lowering of hydrostatic
pressure causes a pressure gradient from the base to the top of the xylem vessel.

• In a leaf, water moves out of xylem vessels through pits, and then across the leaf by the
apoplast and symplast pathways.

• Water evaporates from the wet cell walls into the leaf spaces, and then diffuses out
through the stomata.

The diagrams below show the pathway taken by water through a plant.

* Evaporation: A leaf contains many cells in contact with air spaces in the mesophyll
layers. Liquid water in the cell walls changes to water vapour, which diffuses into the air
spaces. The water vapour then diffuses out of the leaf through the stomata, down a water
potential gradient, into the air surrounding the leaf.

Each stoma is surrounded by a pair of guard cells. These can change shape to open or
close the stoma. In order to photosynthesise, the stomata must be open so that CO 2 can
diffuse into the leaf. Plants cannot therefore avoid losing water vapour by transpiration.


Plants have evolved over time to adapt to their local

environment and reduce transpiration. A
xerophyte (desert plant) is a plant that is adapted to live
in an environment where water is in short supply.

Cacti are
The adaptations may include:

• leaves with a small surface area to volume ratio. This reduces the amount of surface
area from which water vapour can diffuse.
• leaves with a thick, waxy cuticle. This reduces the quantity of water that can diffuse
through the surface of the leaf into the air.
• methods of trapping moist air near the stomata, for example rolling leaf with stomata
inside, having stomata in pits in the leaf surface, having hairs around the stomata. This
produces a layer of high water potential around the stomata, reducing the water potential
gradient and therefore reducing the rate of diffusion of water vapour from inside the leaf to

Cross section of a xerophytic leaf.

Transpiration is affected by several factors:

 High temperature ↑increases the rate of transpiration. This is because at higher

temperatures water molecules have more kinetic energy. Evaporation from the cell
walls inside the leaf therefore happens more rapidly, and diffusion also happens
more rapidly.
 High humidity ↓decreases the rate of transpiration. This is because the water
potential gradient between the air spaces inside the leaf and the air outside is less
steep, so diffusion of water vapour out of the leaf happens more slowly.
 High wind speed ↑the rate of transpiration. This is because the moving air carries
away water vapour from the surface of the leaf, helping to maintain a water potential
gradient between the air spaces inside the leaf and the air outside.

 High light intensity may ↑ the rate of transpiration. This is because the plant may
be photosynthesising rapidly, requiring a rapid supply of CO2. This means that
more stomata are likely to be open, through which water vapour can diffuse out of
the leaf.

Investigating the factors that affect transpiration rate

It is difficult to measure the rate at which water vapour is lost from leaves. It is much
easier to measure the rate at which a plant, or part of a plant, takes up water. Most of the
water taken up is lost through transpiration, so we can generally assume that an increase
in the rate of take-up of water indicates an increase in the rate of transpiration.

The apparatus used to measure the rate of take-up of water of a plant shoot is called
a potometer. This can simply be a long glass tube. More complex potometers may have
reservoirs which make it easier to refill the tube with water, or a scale marked on them.

• Fix a short length of rubber tubing over one end of the long glass tube. Completely
submerge the tube in water. Move it around to get rid of all air inside it and fill it with water.
Make absolutely sure there are no air bubbles.

• Take a leafy shoot from a plant and submerge it in the water alongside the glass tube.
Using a sharp blade, make a slanting cut across the stem.

• Push the cut end of the stem into the rubber tubing. Make sure the fit is tight and that
there are no air bubbles. If necessary, use a small piece of wire to fasten the tube tightly
around the stem.

• Take the whole apparatus out of the water and support it upright. Wait at least 10
minutes for it to dry out. If the glass tube is not marked with a scaie, place a ruler or graph
paper behind it.

• Start a stop clock and read the position of the air/water meniscus (which will be near the
base of the tube). Record its position every 2 minutes (or whatever time interval seems
sensible). Stop when you have 10 readings, or when the meniscus is one third of the way
up the tube.

• Change the environmental conditions and continue to take readings. For example, you
could use a fan to increase 'wind speed', or move the apparatus into an area where the
temperature is higher or lower.

• Plot distance moved by meniscus against time for each set of readings, on the same
axes. Draw best fit lines. Calculate the mean distance moved per minute, or calculate the
slope of each line. This can be considered to be the rate of transpiration.

#34. Transport In phloem

The movement of substances in phloem tissue is

called translocation. The main substances that are moved
are sucrose and amino acids, which are in solution in
water. These substances have been made by the plant and
are called assimilates.

Phloem tissue

Phloem tissue contains cells called sieve tube

elements. Unlike xylem vessel elements, these are
living cells and contain cytoplasm and a few
organelles but no nucleus. Their walls are made of
cellulose. A companion cell is associated with
each sieve tube element.

Sources and sinks

Vascular plants produce nutrients such as sucrose in

their leaves. These nutrients must then be transported
to the rest of the shoot or to the root tips, where growth
occurs. The leaves are referred to as the source, and
the shoot and root tips - sink.

 A source is an organ that produces more sugar

than it requires. That's where assimilates enter
the phloem.
 A sink is an organ that consumes sugar for its
own growth and storage. That's where
assimilates leave the phloem.


Assimilates (sucrose and amino acids) move between sources (leaves and storage
organs) and sinks ( buds, flowers, fruits, roots and storage organs) in phloem sieve tubes
in a process called translocation.

The products from the source are usually translocated to the nearest sink through the
phloem. The multidirectional flow of phloem contrasts the flow of xylem, which is always
unidirectional (soil to leaf to atmosphere).

Translocation of sucrose and other assimilates is an energy-requiring process.

• Respiration in companion cells at a source provides ATP that is used to fuel the active
transport of sucrose into the companion cell. This increases the concentration of sucrose in
the companion cell, so that it moves by diffusion down a concentration gradient into the
phloem sieve element.

• The increased concentration of sucrose in the

companion cell and phloem sieve element produces
a water potential gradient from the surrounding
cells into the companion cell and phloem sieve
element. Water moves down this gradient.

• At a sink, sucrose diffuses out of the phloem sieve

element and down a concentration gradient into a
cell that is using sucrose. This produces a water
potential gradient, so water also diffuses out of the
phloem sieve element.

• The addition of water at the source and the loss of

water at the sink produces a higher hydrostatic pressure inside the phloem sieve element at
the source than at the sink. Phloem sap therefore moves by mass flow down this pressure
gradient, through the phloem sieve elements and through the sieve pores, from source to


#35. Summary of Transport in multicellular plants

1. Multicellular organisms with small surface area to
volume ratios need transport systems.

2. Water and mineral salts are transported through a

plant in xylem vessels. Movement of water is
a passive process in which the water moves down a
water potential gradient from soil to air.

3. The energy for this process comes from the Sun,

which causes evaporation of water from the wet walls
of mesophyll cells in leaves. Water vapour in the air
spaces of the leaf diff uses out of the leaf through
stomata, in a process called transpiration. This loss of water sets up a water potential
gradient throughout the plant.

4. Transpiration is an inevitable consequence of gaseous exchange in plants. Plants need

stomata so that carbon dioxide and oxygen can be exchanged with the environment.

5. The rate of transpiration is affected by several environmental factors, particularly

temperature, light intensity, wind speed and humidity. It is difficult to measure rate of
transpiration directly, but water uptake can be measured using a potometer.

6. Plants that are adapted to live in places where the environmental conditions are likely to
cause high rates of transpiration, and where soil water is in short supply, are called
xerophytes. They have often evolved adaptations that help to reduce the rate of loss of
water vapour from their leaves.

7. Water enters the plant through root hairs by osmosis. Water crosses the root either
through the cytoplasm of cells (the symplast pathway) or via their cell walls (the apoplast
pathway), and enters the dead, empty xylem vessels. It also moves across the leaf by
symplast and apoplast pathways.

8. Water moves up xylem vessels by mass flow, as a result of pressure diff erences caused
by loss of water from leaves by transpiration. Root pressure can also contribute to this
pressure diff erence.

9. Mineral salts are essential nutrients. Examples are nitrate, which is needed for the
synthesis of a wide variety of organic compounds, and magnesium, which is a constituent
of chlorophyll.

10. Translocation of organic solutes such as sucrose occurs through living phloem sieve
tubes. The
phloem sap moves by mass flow from a region known as the source to a region known as
the sink. Sucrose is produced at the source (e.g. photosynthesising leaves) and used at the
sink (e.g. a flower or a storage organ).

11. Mass flow occurs as a result of pressure differences between the source and the sink.
Active loading of sucrose into the sieve tubes at the source results in the entry of water by
osmosis, thus creating a high hydrostatic pressure in the sieve tubes.

12. Both xylem vessels and phloem sieve tubes show unique structural features which are
adaptations to their roles in transport.

1. Multiple-choice test
1. Which feature is seen in both sieve tube elements and xylem vessel elements?

A elongated cells arranged end to end

B end walls perforated by large pores
C lignified walls with pits
D thin lining layer of cytoplasm

2. Part of the stem of a plant is heated to kill living vascular tissues.

How will this treatment affect transport through phloem and xylem?

3. Which description is correct?

A Companion cells have no nuclei and are not metabolically active.

B Pits are part of the cellulose cell wall of a xylem vessel element where no lignin has
been deposited.
C Sieve tube elements are dead and have no cytoplasm or organelles.
D The lignified wall of a xylem vessel element is an adaptation to the high pressure inside
the element.

4 What is responsible for the upward movement of water in xylem vessels in plants?

A active loading of water against the water potential gradient in roots and osmosis in the
xylem vessels
B increasing water potential at the top of the xylem vessels and osmosis in the roots
C decreasing water potential at the top of the xylem vessels and cohesion of water in the
D translocation in the leaves and capillarity in the xylem vessels

5. The movement of water in the apoplast pathway takes place outside living cells,
whereas the symplast pathway involves living cells.

What occurs in the apoplast and symplast pathways?


6. What may magnesium ions and nitrate ions be used to make in a plant?

7. Which of the following are adaptations shown by xerophytes?

1 leaves covered by hairs

2 leaves covered in a layer of wax
3 leaves reduced to spines
4 stems that store water
5 stomata sunken into pits

A 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
B 1, 2 and 3 only
C 2, 3 and 4 only
D 1, 4 and 5 only

8 Translocation moves sucrose from sources to sinks.

Which row shows a source and a sink?

9 Which description of translocation is not correct?

A Loading sucrose into a sieve tube element increases the water potential of the sap
inside it.
B Sucrose is actively loaded into a sieve tube element at a source through a companion
C Sucrose is removed from a sieve tube element at a sink and converted into other
D When sucrose is loaded into a sieve tube element water follows, moving down a water
potential gradient by osmosis.

10. The rate of transpiration from a plant was measured in different

conditions. One of three environmental factors was varied at a time.
The results are shown in the graph.

Answers to Multiple choice test

1. A
2. B
3. B
4. C
5. B
6. A
7. A
8. B
9. A
10. C

2. End-of-chapter questions

1 If sucrose is actively loaded into a sieve tube, which combination of changes take place in
the sieve tube?

2 Which of the following rows correctly describes the hydrostatic pressure of the two
types of elements?

3. The diagram shows the effect of light intensity on the rate of transpiration from the
upper and lower epidermis of a leaf. Other environmental factors were kept constant. What
could explain the differences in transpiration rates from the two surfaces?

A Higherlight intensities are associated with higher temperatures.

B Thepalisade mesophyll cells
have fewer air spaces than the spongy mesophyll cells.
C Theupper epidermis has fewer stomata.
D Theupper epidermis is more exposed to light.

4. Explain how water moves from:

a the soil into a root hair cell.
b one root cortex cell to another.
c a xylem vessel into a leaf mesophyll cell.

5. Name three cell types found in:

i xylem
ii phloem.
b State the functions of the cell types you have named.

6 a The effect of increasing size on surface area: volume ratio can be

shown most easily using a cube. Copy and complete the following table for cubes
with the dimensions indicated (units are not needed):

b. Explain the relevance of these dimensions and ratios to transport in large multicellular

7. Arrange the following in order of water potential. Use the symbol > to mean 'greater
dry atmospheric air; mesophyll cell; root hair cell; soil solution; xylem vessel contents

8. Figure a shows changes in the relative humidity of the atmosphere during the daylight
hours of one day.

Figure b shows changes in the tension in the xylem of a tree during the same period.

a Describe and explain the relationship between relative humidity and xylem tension.

b Describe and explain the differences observed in xylem tension between the top of the
tree and the bottom of the tree.

9 An instrument called a dendrogram can be used to measure small changes in the

diameter of a tree trunk.

Typically, the instrument reveals daily changes, with the diameter at its lowest during
daylight hours and at its greatest at night.

Suggest an explanation for these observations.

10. Copy the table and place a tick or a cross in the appropriate box to indicate
whether nitrogen or magnesium may be in the biochemicals shown.

11. The figure is a graph showing the relationship between rate of

transpiration and rate of water uptake for a particular prlant.

a Define the term transpiration. [2]

b State the two environmental factors which are most likely to be responsible for the
changes in transpiration rateshown in the figure. [2]
c Describe the relationship between rate of transpiration and rate of
water uptake shown in the figure. [2]
d Explainthe relationship. [4][Total: 10]

12 The figure is a light micrograph of a transverse section through the leaf of

marram grass (Ammophila), a xerophytic plant.

a Identify three xerophytic features visible in the light micrograph. [3]

b Explain how each of the features you have identified helps the plant to
conserve water.
[6][Total: 9]

13 Explain how active loading of sucrose into sieve

elements accounts for the following observations:
a The phloem sap has a relatively high pH of about pH 8. [1]
b The inside of sieve element/companion cell units is
negatively charged relative to the outside. (There is a difference in
electrical potential across the cell surface membrane, with a potential of about -
150 mV on the inside.) [2]
c ATP is present in relatively large amounts inside sieve
tubes.[1] [Total: 4]

14 Figure below shows a sieve element with red-

stained 'triangles' of callose at
each end. These triangles indicate the positions of
the sieve plates.
a Assuming the magnification of the micrograph is x
100, calculate the length of the sieve
element. Show your working. [3]

b Scientists were puzzled for many years by

the fact that sieve plates were present in sieve
elements, because sieve
plates increase the resistance to flow.
This contrasts with xylem vessel
elements, which have open ends, redud resistance to

i Calculate how many sieve plates per metre a

sucrose molecule would have to cross if it
were travelling in the sieve tube identified in a
above. Show your working. (Assume all the sieve elements are the same size as
the one measured in the Figure above.) [2]
ii What is the function of the sieve plates? [1]
iii What feature of the sieve plates allows materials to cross them? [1]

c Flow rates in sieve tubes range from 0.3 to 1.5 m h-1 and average about 1 m h-1.. If
the flow rate in the sieve element shown in Figure above were 1 m h-1,
how long would it take a sucrose molecule to travel through it?
Show your working. [Total: 3]

15. Translocation of organic solutes takes place between sources and sinks.

a Briefly explain under what circumstances:

i a seed could be a sink [1]
ii a seed could be a source [1]
iii a leaf could be a sink [1]
iv a leaf could be a source [1]
v a storage organ could be a sink [1]

vi a storage organ could be a source. [1]

b Suggest two possible roles for glucose in each of the following sinks:
i a storage organ [2]
ii a growing bud. [2] [Total: 10]

3. End-of-chapter answers

1 A
2 B
3 C
5 a i vessel elements; tracheids; parenchyma; fibres;
ii sieve (tube) elements; companion cells; parenchyma; fibres;
b vessel element: transport of water/support/transport of mineral ions;
tracheid: transport of water/support/transport of mineral ions;
sieve element: transport of, sucrose/organic solutes;
companion cells: loading/unloading, phloem (sieve element)/forms functional unit with
sieve element;
parenchyma: storage/gas exchange;
fibres: support/mechanical strength;

b as size increases, volume increases faster than surface area;

therefore as size increases, the surface area : volume ratio decreases;
can no longer rely on diff usion to satisfy transport needs;

7 soil solution > root hair cell > xylem vessel contents
> mesophyll cell > dry atmospheric air

8 a the lower the relative humidity, the higher the tension/the lower the hydrostatic
pressure, in the xylem;
more evaporation from leaf (mesophyll cells) when low relative humidity;
results in lower water potential in leaf (mesophyll cells);
therefore more water moves from xylem (vessels to replace water lost from leaf);
down a water potential gradient;
sets up tension in the xylem vessels;

b lowest/most negative, hydrostatic pressure is at the top of the tree;

because water is being lost at the top of the tree;
this sets up a tension which is greatest at the top of the tree;
there is a, hydrostatic pressure/tension, gradient in the xylem vessels;
some pressure is (inevitably) lost on the way down the tree;

9 transpiration/loss of water vapour/loss of water by evaporation, from the leaves occurs

during the day;
because the stomata are open;
this results in tension in the xylem (vessels);
walls of xylem vessels are pulled slightly inwards/vessels shrink slightly;

overall eff ect is for diameter of whole trunk to, shrink/get smaller;
stomata close at night, so no transpiration at night;

11 a the loss of water vapour;

from the leaves/from the surface of a plant; [2]
b light intensity; temperature; [2]
c rate of water uptake shows the same pattern as rate of transpiration; AW
but there is a time delay, with changes in rate of transpiration occurring before changes
in water uptake; AW [2]
d transpiration causes water uptake;
loss of water (by transpiration) sets up a water potential gradient in the plant;
water potential in roots is lower than water potential in soil;
therefore water enters plant through roots;
time delay between rate of transpiration and rate of water uptake is due to time taken
for effect of transpiration to be transmitted through the plant; AW [max. 4][Total: 10]

12 a thick cuticle (on lower epidermis/outer surface when rolled);

leaf rolled up (due to activity of hinge cells);
hairy upper epidermis/leaf is hairy;
stomata absent from lower epidermis/stomata only present in upper epidermis;
sunken stomata/stomata in pits/stomata in grooves (in upper epidermis); [max. 3]

b thick cuticle:
cuticle contains a (fatty and relatively) waterproof substance called cutin;
the thicker it is, the more eff ective;

leaf rolled up:

encloses a humid atmosphere/allows a humid atmosphere to build up;

hairs trap a layer of (still) moist air next to the leaf;

stomata absent from lower epidermis:

reduces/prevents, transpiration from, lower epidermis/exposed surface;
sunken stomata:
allows a humid (still) atmosphere to build up around the stomata;

Allow 1 mark on one occasion only for ‗reduces the steepness of the water potential
gradient from leaf to air inside the (rolled) leaf‘ if relevant; [max. 6]
[Total: 9]

13 a hydrogen ions are actively transported out of the, sieve element/companion cell; [1]

b there are more hydrogen ions/there is a build-up of hydrogen ions, outside the sieve
element–companion cell units compared with inside;

hydrogen ions are positively charged; [2]

c ATP is needed for the active transport of hydrogen ions out of the tubes; [1]
[Total: 4]

14 a actual length = observed length/magnifi cation,

A = I:M
observed length of sieve element = 51 mm (allow ±1 mm);
actual length = 51 mm/150 = 0.51 mm; accept
conversion of mm to μm: answer = 510 μm [3]

b i 1 metre = 1000 mm;

1000/0.51 = 1961(to nearest whole number);
1 metre = 1 000 000 μm;
1 000 000/510 = 1961 (to nearest whole number); [2]

ii to maintain the pressure gradient inside the sieve tubes;

without the sieve plates the diff erent pressures at source and sink would quickly
[max. 1]

iii sieve pores; [1]

c (sieve element is 0.51 mm long)

(1 hour = 3600 seconds)
3600 seconds to travel 1 metre;
0.51/1000 × 3600 seconds to travel 0.51 mm;
= 1.8 seconds (to one decimal place);
Accept 510 μm and 1 000 000 (μm) instead of 0.51 mm and 1000 (mm). [3]
[Total: 10]

15 a when seed is forming/just after fertilisation; [1]

b germination; [1]
c young immature leaf/leaf that is still growing; [1]
d mature photosynthesising leaf; [1]
e when food is being accumulated/when storage organ is growing (in
size)/developing/end of plant‘s growing season/just before winter; [1]
f when plant starts to grow (using food from the storage organ); [1]
g i to make starch;
respiration; [2]
ii to make cellulose;
respiration; [2]
[Total: 10]


#36. The circulatory system - blood vessels

The mammalian circulatory system is
a closed double circulation, consisting of a heart, blood
vessels and blood.

The heart produces high pressure --> blood moves through

the vessels by mass flow.

The mammalian circulatory system is

closed: blood travels inside vessels
double circulatory:

pulmonary system: heart --

> lungs --> heart
systemic system : heart --> around the rest of body --> heart

Blood vessels


 Carry blood away from the heart.

 Blood that flows through arteries is pulsing and at a high pressure.
 Have thick, elastic walls which can expand and recoil as the blood pulses through.
 The artery wall contains variable amounts of smooth muscle. This muscle
does not help to push the blood through them.


 Arteries branch into smaller vessels called arterioles.

 They contain smooth muscle in their walls, which can contract and make the lumen
(space inside) smaller.
 Helps to control the flow of blood to different parts of the body.


 Tiny vessels with just enough space for red blood cells to squeeze through.
 Their walls are only 1 cell thick, and there are often gaps in the walls through which
plasma (the liquid component of blood) can leak out.
 Deliver nutrients, hormones and other requirements to body cells, and take away
their waste products.
 Small size and thin walls minimise diffusion distance, enabling exchange to take
place rapidly between the blood and the body cells.


 Small blood vessels that connect the capillary beds to the veins.


 Carry low-pressure blood back to the heart.

 Their walls do not need to be as tough or as elastic as those of arteries as the blood
is not at high pressure and is not pulsing.
 The lumen is larger than in arteries, reducing friction which would otherwise slow
down blood movement.
 Contain valves, to ensure that the blood does not flow back the wrong way.
 Blood is kept moving through many veins, for example those in the legs, by the
squeezing effect produced by contraction of the body muscles close to them, which
are used when walking.

Pressure changes in the circulatory system

The pressure of the blood changes as it moves through the circulatory system.

• In the arteries, blood is at high pressure because it has just been pumped out of the
heart. The pressure oscillates (goes up and down) in time with the heart beat. The
stretching and recoil of the artery walls helps to smooth the oscillations, so the pressure
becomes gradually steadier the further the blood moves along the arteries. The mean
pressure also gradually decreases.

• The total cross-sectional area of the capillaries is greater than that of the arteries that
supply them, so blood pressure is less inside the capillaries than inside arteries.

• In the veins, blood is at a very low pressure, as it is now a long way from thepumping
effect of the heart.

#37. The components of blood, O2 and CO2 transport

The body contains approximately 5 litres of blood

and this is a mixture made up of red blood
cells, white blood cells and platelets all
suspended in a liquid called plasma.

1. Blood components

Red blood cells

 Transport O2 from lungs --> respiring tissues, carry CO2 away

from cells
 Very small and have the shape of a biconcave disc --> ↑surface
area/volume ratio --> rapid diffusion of O2 into and out of them.
 Contain Hb, which combines with O2 to form oxyhaemoglobin
(HbO2) in areas of high concentration (lungs) and releases O2 in
areas of low concentration (respiring tissues).
 Have no nucleus or mitochondria. No nucleus --> more surface
area to carry Hb and hence O2.

White Blood Cells (Leukocytes)

Defend the body against infection and disease

2 main types: Lymphocytes + Phagocytes
- Lymphocytes

 Recognise virus/bacteria as being foreign and make antibodies to

attack and destroy them or destroy them directly.
 Each lymphocyte can recognise one particular pathogen and respond
to it by secreting one particular type of antibody or by attacking it.

- Phagocytes

 Destroy unwanted cells (damaged body cells or pathogens

like virus, bacteria) by engulfing them in a process known as
phagocytosis. They take the germ into the cell then digest and
destroy it.
 Larger than red blood cells and often have a lobed nucleus.
 Have a flexible shape so that they can engulf microorganisms

Platelets (Thrombocytes)

 Fragments of larger cells

 Help blood to clot by clumping together and forming a plug.
 Protect the body by stopping bleeding
 No nucleus.

2. Tissue fluid and lymph

 Capillaries have tiny gaps between the cells in their walls. Near the arteriole end of
capillary, there is relatively high pressure inside the capillary, and plasma leaks out
through these gaps to fill the spaces between the body cells. This leaked plasma is
called tissue fluid.

 Tissue fluid is therefore very similar to blood plasma. However, very large molecules
such as albumin (a protein carried in solution in blood plasma) and other plasma
proteins cannot get through the pores and so remain in the blood plasma.

 The tissue fluid bathes the body cells. Substances such as oxygen, glucose or urea
can move between the blood plasma and the cells by diffusing through the tissue

 Some tissue fluid moves back into the

capillaries, becoming part of the blood
plasma once more. This happens
especially at the venule end of the
capillary, where bloodpressure is lower,
producing a pressure gradient down which
the tissue fluid can flow. However, some of
the tissue fluid collects into blind-ending
vessels called lymphatic vessels. It is
then called lymph.

 Lymphatic vessels have valves that allow

fluid to flow into them and along them but
not back out again. They carry the lymph towards the subclavian veins (near the
collarbone) where it is returned to the blood.

 The lymph passes through lymphatic glands where white blood cells accumulate.
Lymph therefore tends to carry higher densities of white blood cells than are found in
blood plasma or tissue fluid.

Lymphatic vessels pick up excess tissue fluid, purify it in the lymph nodes,
and then return it to the circulatory system.

2. The differences between blood, tissue fluid and lymph

 Blood is a suspension of red and white cells and platelets in plasma. When left to
settle or spun in a centrifuge, blood separates into these 3 components.
 Tissue fluid is a colourless fluid that is formed from blood plasma by pressure
filtration through capillary walls. It surrounds all the cells of the body and all
exchanges between blood and cells occur through it.
 Lymph is tissue fluid that has drained into lymphatic vessels. It passes through
lymph nodes where it gains white cells and antibodies. Lymphatic vessels absorb
hormones from some endocrines glands and fat in the small intestine.

Components Blood Tissue fluid Lymph

Red blood cells (+) (- ) (- )
White blood cells (+) some some
Water (+) (+) (+)
Plasma proteins (+) very few very few
Na ions (+) (+) (+)
Glucose (+) (+) very little
Antibodies (+) (+) (+)
Fats (+) some (+) especilly after meal

3. Haemoglobin and O2 transport

 Hb is a protein with quaternary structure. A Hb molecule is made up of 4

polypeptide chains, each of which has a haem group at its centre.
 Each haem group contains an Fe2+ ion which is able to combine reversibiy with O2,
forming HbO2.
 Each iron ion can combine with 2 oxygen atoms, so one Hb molecule can combine
with 8 oxygen atoms.

Hb + 4O2 → HbO8

 O2 concentration can be measured as partial pressure (pO2), in kilopascals (kPa).

 Hb combines with more O2 at high pO2 than it does at low (pO2). At high pO2, all the
Hb will be combined with O2, and we say that it is 100% saturated with O2.

Dissociation curve - A graph showing the

relationship between pO2 and the % saturation of
Hb with O2.

Dissociation curves show how efficient Hb is at

absorbing O2 in the lungs and dilivering O2 to tissue.

 In the lungs, pO2 = 12 kPa. You can see from

the graph that the Hb will be about 98%
 In a respiring muscle, pO2= 2kPa --> Hb will
be about 23% saturated.

--> When Hb from the lungs arrives at a respiring muscle it gives up more than 70% of
the O2 it is carrying.

The effect of pH - The Bohr effect

 The amount of O2 carried and released by Hb depends not only on the pO2 but also
on pH.
 An acidic environment causes HbO2 to dissociate (unload) to release the O2 to the
tissues. Just a small decrease in the pH results in a large decrease in the
percentage saturation of the blood with O2.
 Acidity depends on the concentration of hydrogen ions.
 The presence of CO2 ↑concentration of H ions
--> H displaces O2 from the HbO2, thus increasing the O2 available to the respiring tissues.
H+ + HbO2 → HHb + O2
HHb is called haemoglobinic acid.

 This means that the Hb mops up free H+. That way the Hb helps to maintain the
almost neutral pH of the blood. Hb acts as a buffer.
 In areas of high CO2 concentration, Hb is less saturated with O2 than it would be if
there was no CO2 present. This release of O2 when the pH is low (even if the pO2 is
relatively high) is called the Bohr effect.
 It enables Hb to unload more of its O2 in tissues where respiration (which produces
CO2) is taking place.

The Bohr effect causing a shift to the right

in the oxyhemoglobin dissociation curve.
4. CO2 transport

 About 85% of the CO2 produced by respiration diffuses into the red blood cells and
forms H2CO3 (carbonic acid) under the control of carbonic anhydrase - enzyme
found in red blood cells.

 The HCO3− diffuses out of the red blood cell into the plasma. This leaves a shortage
of negatively charged ions inside the red blood cells. (To compensate for this,
chloride ions move from the plasma into the red blood cells. This restoration of the
electrical charge inside the red blood cells is called the chloride shift.)

 About 5% of the CO2 produced simply dissolves in the blood plasma.

 Some CO2 diffuses into the red blood cells but instead of forming H2CO3, attaches
directly onto the Hb molecules to form carbaminohaemoglobin. Since the
CO2 doesn't bind to the haem groups the Hb is still able to pick up O2 or H+.

Adaptation to high altitude

 At high altitudes, the air is less dense and the pO2 is lower than at sea level -->Hb is
less saturated with O2 in the lungs and delivers less O2 to body tissues.
 After some time at high altitude, the number of red blood cells in the blood ↑--> there
are more Hb molecules in a given volume of blood.
 -->Even though each Hb molecule carries less O2 on average than at sea level, the
fact that there are more of them helps to supply the same amount of O2 to respiring

Athletes may make use of this by training at high altitude before an important competition.
When they return to low altitude, their extra red blood cells can supply O2to their muscles at
a greater rate than in an athlete who has not been to high altitude, giving them a
competitive advantage.

#38. The Heart

The mammalian heart is a double pump:

- The right side pumps deoxygenated blood at low pressure

to the lungs.
- The oxygenated blood then returns to the left side of the heart
in the pulmonary vein.
- The left side pumps oxygenated blood at high pressure to
the rest of the body in the aorta.
- The blood then returns to the right side of the heart in the vena
cava to start the cycle again.

Structure of the mammalian heart

The External Structure

 The mammalian heart is a hollow organ and is surrounded by a double membrane,

called the pericardium.
 The space between the 2 membranes is filled with a watery fluid which prevents
friction when the heart beats.
 A transverse and a longitudinal groove are visible on the surface of the heart. These
grooves indicate the positions of the inner walls which divide the heart into 4
chambers: 2 upper chambers (atria), and 2 larger lower chambers (ventricles).
 The coronary arteries and veins are clearly visible on the grooves.
 Entering the right atrium are the superior vena cava and the inferior vena cava.
 Entering the left atrium are the 4 pulmonary veins.
 From the upper central portion of the heart arise the pulmonary artery with a right
and left branch and the aorta with its branches.

The Internal Structure

 A muscular septum divides the heart internally into a left and a right half. Each half
is subdivided into 2 chambers, the atrium (reception) and the ventricle (pump
chamber) . Internally all 4 chambers have a smooth membranous lining,
the endocardium.
 The atria and ventricle on the left side of the heart contain oxygenated blood, while
those on the right side contain deoxygenated blood.
 The walls of the heart are made of cardiac muscle.

 The walls of the ventricles are thicker than those of the atria as they have to produce
more pressure.
 The wall of the left ventricle is thicker than the wall of the right ventricle as it has to
produce enough pressure to move blood all around the body, not just to the lungs.

The cardiac cycle

 Heart is two pumps that work together. Both sides of the heart contract and relax
 Repetitive contraction (systole) and relaxation (diastole) of heart chambers.
 Blood moves through circulatory system from areas of higher to lower pressure.
 Contraction of the cardiac muscle causes the walls to squeeze inwards on the blood
inside the heart --> produces the pressure.

The sequence of one heart beat is called the cardiac cycle.

 During atrial systole, the muscles in the walls of the atria contracts, pushing more
blood into the ventricles through the open atrioventricular valves.
 During ventricular systole, the muscles in the walls of the ventricles contract. This
causes the pressure of the blood inside the ventricles to become greater than in the
atria, forcing the atrioventricular valves shut. The blood is forced out through the
aorta and pulmonary artery.
 During diastole, the heart muscles relax. The pressure inside the ventricles
becomes less than that inside the aorta and pulmonary artery, so the blood inside
theses vessels pushes the semilunar valves shut. Blood flows into the atria from the
veins, so the cycle is ready to begin again.

Initiation and control of the cardiac cycle

Cardiac muscle is myogenic - it contracts and relaxes automatically, without the need of
stimulation by nerves. The rhythmic, coordinated contraction of the cardiac muscle in
different parts of the heart is coordinated through electrical impulses passing through the
cardiac muscle tissue.

 In the wall of the right atrium, there is a patch of muscle tissue called the sinoatrial
node (SAN). This has an intrinsic rate of contraction a little higher than that of the
rest of the heart muscle.
 As the cells in the SAN contract, they generate action potentials (electrical impulses)
which sweep along the muscle in the wall of the right and left atria. This causes the
muscle to contract. This is atrial systole.
 When the action potentials reach the atrioventricular node (AVN) in the septum,
they are delayed briefly. They then sweep down the septum between the ventricles,
along the left and right bundle of His to the respective Purkyne fibers, and then up
through the ventricle walls. This causes the ventricles to contract slightly after the
atria. The left and right ventricles contract together, from the bottom up. This
is ventricular systole.
 There is then a short delay before the next wave of action potentials is generated in
the SAN. During this time, the heart muscles relax. This is diastole.

#39. Summary of The mammalian transport system

1. Blood is carried away from the heart in arteries, passes through
tissues in capillaries, and is returned to the heart in veins. Blood
pressure drops gradually as it passes along this system.

2. Arteries have thick, elastic walls, to allow them to withstand high

blood pressures and to smooth out the pulsed blood flow.
Capillaries are only just wide enough to allow the passage of red
blood cells, and have very thin walls to allow effi cient and rapid
transfer of materials between blood and cells. Veins have thinner
walls than arteries and possess valves to help blood at low pressure
flow back to the heart.

3. Blood plasma leaks from capillaries to form tissue fluid. This is collected into lymphatics
as lymph, and returned to the blood in the subclavian veins. Tissue fluid and lymph are
almost identical in composition; both of them contain fewer plasma protein molecules than
blood plasma, as these are too large to pass through the pores in the capillary walls.

4. Red blood cells are relatively small cells. They have a biconcave shape and no nucleus.
Their cytoplasm is full of haemoglobin.

5. White blood cells include phagocytes and lymphocytes. They all have nuclei, and are
spherical or irregular in shape.

6. Red blood cells carry oxygen in combination with haemoglobin. Haemoglobin picks up
oxygen at high partial pressures of oxygen in the lungs, and releases it at low partial
pressures of oxygen in respiring tissues. A graph showing the percentage saturation of
haemoglobin at diff erent partial pressures (concentrations) of oxygen is known as a
dissociation curve. At high carbon dioxide concentrations, the dissociation curve shifts
downwards and to the right, showing that haemoglobin releases oxygen more easily when
carbon dioxide concentration is high. This is known as the Bohr effect.

7 Carbon dioxide is mostly carried as hydrogencarbonate ions in blood plasma, but also in
combination with haemoglobin in red blood cells and dissolved as carbon dioxide molecules
in blood

8 At high altitudes, the partial pressure of oxygen is so low that altitude sickness can be
caused, which can be fatal. The body can adapt to gradual changes, however, by producing
more red blood cells and haemoglobin.
Pulmonary and systemic circulation
Human circulation system

1. Multiple-choice test
1. Which description of blood vessels is correct?

A Arteries have thick walls of smooth muscle with valves at intervals.

B Arteries near the heart have large numbers of elastic fibres in their thick walls.

C Capillary walls consist of a layer of endothelium surrounded by collagen fibres.

D Small veins have thin walls made entirely of smooth muscle.

2. Which comparison of blood pressures is correct?

A The pressure in arterioles is lower than in venules.
B The pressure in capillaries is lower than in small veins.
C The pressure in small arteries is higher than in large veins.
D The pressure in the vena cava is higher than in capillaries.

3 Which statement about veins is not correct?

A Blood is forced through a semilunar valve by the contraction of smooth muscle fibres in
the wall of the vein.
B Semilunar valves allow blood to move towards the heart but not away from it.
C Semilunar valves are formed from the endothelium and are moved by changes in blood
D The pressure needed for blood flow in a vein is produced by contraction of nearby
skeletal muscles.

4 Which of the following describe a phagocyte?

1 lobed nucleus
2 spherical nucleus
3 small granules in the cytoplasm
4 very little cytoplasm
5 smaller than a red blood cell

A 1, 3 and 5 only
B 2, 4 and 5 only
C 1 and 3 only
D 2 and 4 only

5. Which of the following describes a molecule of haemoglobin?

A A molecule made up of four haem groups, each of which binds reversibly to an atom of
B A molecule made up of a single haem group which binds irreversibly with a molecule of
C A protein with quaternary structure, consisting of a single globin polypeptide attached to
a haem group.
D A protein with quaternary structure, consisting of two α- and two β-globin polypeptides,
each attached to a haem group.

6 Which of the following word equations, showing reactions in a red blood cell,
includes a mistake?
A haemoglobin + oxygen oxyhaemoglobin
B oxyhaemoglobin + hydrogen ions haemoglobinic acid
C carbon dioxide + water carbonic acid
D haemoglobin + carbon dioxide carboxyhaemog

7 The red blood cell count of humans increases when they remain at high altitudes.
What is the effect of this?
A It increases the Bohr effect.
B It compensates for the lack of oxygen at high altitudes.
C It reduces the amount of haemoglobin per red blood cell.
D It increases the percentage saturation of haemoglobin with oxygen.

8. The graph shows dissociation curves for

haemoglobin at two different concentrations
of carbon dioxide.

What may be concluded from the graph?

A P is at a higher concentration of carbon

dioxide than Q.
B P is at a lower pH than Q.
C Q shows haemoglobin that is more
saturated with oxygen than P.
D Q shows haemoglobin with a lower affinity for oxygen than P.

9. The diagram shows dissociation curves for

adult haemoglobin, fetal haemoglobin and
myoglobin. Myoglobin only releases oxygen
when concentrations are very low. Fetal
haemoglobin has a higher affinity for oxygen than
adult haemoglobin does.

10 The statements describe blood, tissue fluid

and lymph in a capillary bed.

 W lacks large plasma proteins and red blood

cells and has a higher water potential than Z.
 X is at a lower pressure than Y and contains
red blood cells and large plasma proteins.
 Y is at a higher pressure than W and contains
red blood cells and large plasma proteins.
 Z is at a lower pressure than Y and lacks red blood cells.

Which row identifies W, X, Y and Z?

Answers to Multiple choice test

1. B 2. C 3. A 4. C 5. D 6. D 7. B 8. D 9. D 10. D

2. End-of-chapter questions

1 The diagram shows the changes in blood pressure as blood flows through the blood
vessels in the human systemic circulatory system.

The micrograph shows an artery and a vein.


3. Constructa table comparing the structure of

arteries, veins and capillaries. Include both similarities and differences, and give
reasons for the differences which you describe.

4. Constructa table comparing blood plasma, tissue fluid and lymph.

5. Explain how the structure of haemoglobin enables it to carry out its functions. (You
may wish to remind you about the various levels of structure of a
protein molecule such as Hb)

6. The following statements were all made by candidates in

examination answers. Explain what is wrong with each statement.

a Oxyhaemoglobin gradually releases its oxygen as it passes from the lungs to a

muscle. The b The strong walls of arteries enable them to
pump blood around the body.
c Each red blood cell can combine with eight oxygen atoms.
d Red blood cells have a large surface area so that many oxygen molecules can be

7 Carbon dioxide is transported in the blood in various forms.

a Describe how carbon dioxide molecules reach red blood cells
from respiring cells. [:
The figure shows part of a capillary network and some cells of
the surrounding tissue.

b State three ways in which the blood at Y differs from the blood at X other
than in the concentration of carbon dioxide.
An enzyme in red blood cells
catalyses the reaction between carbon dioxide and water as blood flows through
respiring tissues.

c i Name the enzyme that catalyses this reaction. [1]

ii Explain the significance of this reaction in the transport of

carbon dioxide. [3]
d The figure below shows the effect of
increasing the carbon dioxide concentration on the oxygen dissociation
curve for haemoglobin.

i State the percentage saturation of haemoglobin with oxygen at a

partial pressure of 5 kPa of oxygen when the partial pressure of carbon dioxide is:
1.0 kPa
1.5 kPa [1]

ii The percentage saturation of haemoglobin with oxygen decreases as

the partial pressure of carbon dioxide
increases.Explain how this happens. [2]

iii Name the effect of

increasing carbon dioxide concentration on the oxygen dissociation curve.
iv Explain the importance of the effect of carbon dioxide on haemoglobin as
shown in
the figure. [3]
[Total: 16]

[Cambridge International AS and A Level Biology 9700 Paper 21, Question 2, June 2011]

8. Mammalh save a closed, double circulation.

a State what is meant by
the term double circulation. [1]
The figure below shows part of
the circulation in a mammalian
tissue. The central part is enlarged to
show a capillaray,cell supplied by
the capillary, and vessel Z.

b Explainwhy the wall of the artery is

thicker than the wall of the vein. [2]
c Suggest one role for the pre-
capillary sphincter muscle shown in
the figure. [1]

d With reference to the figure, describe the role of capillaries in

forming tissue fluid. [3.]
e i Describe three ways in which plasma differs from tissue fluid. [3]
ii Name the fluid in vessel Z. [1][Total:11]

[Cambridge InternationalAS andA Level Biology 9700 Paper 2, Question 4, November


3. End-of-chapter answers
1C 2D

5 Points that could be made include:

• The haemoglobin molecule is a protein with quaternary structure. Hydrogen bonds, ionic
bonds and van der Waals forces hold the protein
in its three-dimensional shape, which is important for its function.

• The primary structure of each polypeptide chain determines how the chain will fold and
where the bonds will form, thus determining its three- dimensional shape.

• The haemoglobin molecule has R groups with small charges on its outer surface
(hydrophilic R groups), which help to make it soluble in water. This allows it to dissolve in
the cytoplasm of a red blood cell.

• Each haemoglobin molecule is made up of four polypeptide chains, each with a haem
group at its centre. Each haem group can bind reversibly with one oxygen molecule.

• When one oxygen molecule binds with one of the haem groups, it slightly changes the
shape of the haemoglobin molecule so that it becomes easier
for more oxygen molecules to bind with the other haem groups.

6 a The word ‗gradually‘ is not correct. The partial pressure of oxygen is high in the lungs
and low in muscle. It does not change gradually as the blood flows from the lungs to the
muscle, because it is only when it gets to the muscle that the blood is in contact with
anything that is using oxygen. While it is inside an artery, it remains fully oxygenated. The
blood is only exposed to a low partial
pressure of oxygen once it enters a capillary inside a respiring tissue, such as a muscle.
Capillary walls, unlike those of arteries, are thin and easily permeable to oxygen.

b Arteries do not pump blood. Their strong walls, which are also elastic, enable the artery to
expand and recoil as pulses of high-pressure blood pass through. The recoil of the artery
wall does help to give the blood a further ‗push‘ in between these pulses, but this is not
‗pumping‘ and is due only to elasticity, not to muscle contraction.

c This should say: Each haemoglobin molecule can combine with eight oxygen atoms. A
red cell is huge compared with a haemoglobin molecule. One red cell contains well over
200 million haemoglobin molecules.

d Red blood cells do have a large surface area, but oxygen does not attach to their surface.
The large surface area allows more oxygen to diffuse in and out at any one time, therefore
increasing the rate at which the cell can take up and release oxygen. Once inside the cell,
the oxygen does not attach to its surface, but to the haemoglobin molecules within its

7 a reference to diffusion;
down concentration gradient;
through the wall of a capillary; [max. 2]

b lower pressure;
lower concentration of oxygen; lower concentration of glucose;
lower water potential;
lower concentration of proteins/amino acids/fatty acids/other named nutrient;
higher concentration of carbon dioxide/urea; [max. 3]

c i carbonic anhydrase; [1]

ii hydrogencarbonate ions diffuse out of red blood cells;
(hydrogencarbonate ions) are transported in solution in blood plasma;
conversion of CO2 to hydrogencarbonate reduces concentration of CO2 in
the blood;
which maintains diffusion
gradient for CO2 to diffuse into the blood from respiring tissues;
[max. 3]

d i 73%, 62%; [1]

ii presence of carbon dioxide causes affinity of haemoglobin for oxygen to decrease;
hydrogen ions (from the dissociation of H2CO3) bind with haemoglobin;
cause change in shape of Hb molecule; [max. 2]
iii Bohr effect; [1]

iv causes more release of oxygen (than if this effect did not occur);
in respiring tissues;
where demand for oxygen is high/where production of carbon dioxide is high;
[Total: 16]

8 a blood goes through heart twice on one complete

circuit of the body; [1]

b has more smooth muscle/elastic tissue;

to withstand higher (blood) pressure;
to withstand fluctuating (blood) pressure; [max. 2]

c to prevent blood flowing into the capillary bed/to divert blood to other capillary beds; [1]

d permeable walls/reference to pores in walls;

allow water/dissolved ions/dissolved substances (from plasma) to pass out;
do not allow large protein molecules/cells to pass out;
reference to greater hydrostatic pressure inside capillary than in tissue
fluid; [max. 3]
e i (plasma contains) more proteins;
has lower water potential;
has lower, carbon dioxide/HCO3 concentration;
has greater glucose concentration;
has greater oxygen concentration; [max. 3]
ii lymph [1]
[Total: 11]

# 40. Summary of The mammalian heart

1 The human heart, like that of all mammals, has two atria and two
ventricles. Blood enters the heart by the atria and leaves from the
ventricles. A septum separates the right side of the heart, which
contains deoxygenated blood, from the left side, which contains
oxygenated blood.

2 Semilunar valves at the entrances to the blood vessels that leave

the heart (aorta and pulmonary
artery) prevent back flow of blood into the heart, and atrioventricular
valves prevent backflow of blood from ventricles into the atria.

3 The heart is made of cardiac muscle and is myogenic (the muscle is self-stimulating).

4 The sinoatrial node (SAN) sets the pace of contraction for the muscle in the heart.
Excitation waves spread from the SAN across the atria, causing their walls to contract. A
non-conducting barrier prevents these excitation waves from spreading directly into the
ventricles, thus delaying their contraction. Th e excitation wave travels to the ventricles via
the atrioventricular node (AVN) and the Purkyne tissue, which runs down through the
septum, before spreading out into the walls of the ventricles.

5 Both sides of the heart contract and relax at the same time. Th e contraction phase is
called systole, and the relaxation phase is diastole. One complete cycle of contraction and
relaxation is known as the cardiac cycle.

1. Multiple-choice test

1 Which of the following describes the mammalian circulation?

A open single circulation
B closed single circulation
C open double circulation
D closed double circulation

2 The diagram shows a vertical section through a human


3 Which row describes the aorta?


4 The diagrams are vertical sections through the human heart.

Which pair of arrows shows blood flow through the heart?

5 The right ventricle has much less muscle in its wall than the left ventricle.
What are the consequences of this?
1 The right ventricle develops a much smaller pressure than the left ventricle.
2 The right ventricle delivers a smaller volume of blood than the left ventricle.
3 Blood from the right ventricle travels less far than blood from the left ventricle.

A 1, 2 and 3
B 1 and 2 only
C 1 and 3 only
D 2 and 3 only

6 What are the positions of the valves on the left side of the heart when the pressure
in the left ventricle is higher than the pressures in the left atrium and aorta?

7 Which of the following statements is not correct?

A Atrial muscles are connected to the ventricle muscles, except at the atrioventricular node
B Both atria contract at the same time.
C Both ventricles contract at the same time.
D Contraction of the atria is complete before contraction of the ventricles begins.

8 Which is the correct sequence of events in a cardiac cycle, beginning with its
initiation by the pacemaker?
1 A wave of electrical activity passes along Purkyne tissue.
2 A wave of electrical activity reaches the atrioventricular node (AVN).
3 A wave of electrical activity spreads from the sinoatrial node (SAN) across the atria.
4 Cardiac muscle of the walls of the atria contracts.
5 Cardiac muscle of the walls of the ventricles contracts.


9 When a heart is removed from a mammal and kept in well-oxygenated buffer

solution at 37°C, it continues to beat rhythmically.

What may be concluded about the heart from this observation?

A It has an in-built mechanism for initiating contractions.

B It needs a blood supply to be able to contract.
C It needs a stimulus from a nerve to be able to contract.
D It needs a stimulus from a hormone to be able to contract.

10 The volume of blood pumped by the heart in a given period of time is called the
cardiac output. It is calculated from the volume of blood pumped by one contraction of the
heart (stroke volume) and the number of times the heart contracts per minute (heart rate).
cardiac output = stroke volume × heart rate
The cardiac output of a heart beating at 75 beats per minute was calculated to be 6.0dm3
per minute.

What was the stroke volume of the heart?

A 0.08cm3
B 12.5cm3
C 80cm3
D 125cm3

Answers to Multiple choice test

1. D 2. B 3. B 4. A 5. C 6. C 7. A 8. C 9. A 10. C

2. End-of-chapter questions
1 Where is the mammalian heart beat initiated?
A atrioventricular node
B left atrium
C Purkyne tissue
D sinoatrial node

2 What causes the bicuspid valve to close during ventricular systole?

A a greater blood pressure in the left atrium than in the left ventricle
B a greater blood pressure in the left ventricle than in the left atrium
C contraction of muscles in the septum
D contraction of muscles in the valve

3 Figure below shows the pressure changes in the left atrium, left
ventricle and aorta throughout two cardiac cycles. Make a copy of this diagram.

a i How long does one heart beat (one cardiac cycle) last?
ii What is the heart rate represented on this graph, in beats per minute?
b The contraction of
muscles in the ventricle wall causes the pressure inside the ventricle to rise.
When the muscles relax, the pressure drops again. On your copy of
the diagram, mark the following periods:
i the time when the ventricle is contracting (ventricular systole)
ii the time when the ventricle is relaxing (ventricular diastole).

c The contraction of muscles in the wall of

the atrium raises the pressure inside it. This pressure is also raised
when blood flows into the atrium from the veins, while the atrial walls are
relaxed. On your copy of the diagram, mark the following periods:
i the time when the atrium is contracting (atrial systole)
ii the time when the atrium is relaxing (atrial diastole).

d The atrioventricular valves open when the pressure of the blood in the atria is
greater than that in the ventricles. They snap shut when the pressure of
the blood in the ventricles is greater than that in the atria. On your
diagram,mark the point at which these valves will open and close.
e The opening and closing of the semilunar valves in the aorta depends in a
similar way on the relative pressures inthe aorta
and ventricles. On your diagram, mark the point at which these valves
will open and close.
f The right ventricle has much less muscle in its walls than the left
ventricle, and only develops about one-quarter of the
pressure developed on the left side of the heart. On your diagram, draw a line to
represent the probablepressure inside the right ventricle over the 1.3
seconds shown.

The diagram shows a normal ECG. The

paper on which the ECG was recorded was
running at a speed of 25 mm s-1 .
a Calculatethe heart rate in
beats per minute.
b Thetime interval between Q and T is
called the contraction time.
i Suggest why it is given this name.
ii Calculate the contraction time from this ECG.
c The time interval between T and Q is called the filling time.
i Suggest why it is given this name.
ii Calculate the filling time from this ECG.
d An adult male recorded his ECG at
different heart rates. The contraction time and filling time were calculated from the
ECGs. The results are shown in the table.

i Suggest how the man could have increased his heart rate for the purposes of
the experiment.
ii Present these results as a line graph, drawing both curves on the same pair of
iii Comment on these results.

5 The figure below shows a cross-section of the heart at the level of

the valves.

a i Copy and complete the following flow chart to show the pathway of
blood through the heart.

ii Explain how the valves P and Q ensure one-way flow of

blood through the heart.

The cardiac cycle describes the events that occur during one heart beat.
The following
figure shows the changes in pressure that occur within the left atrium, left
ventricle and aorta during during one heart beat.

Copy and complete the table below. Match up each event during the cardiac cycle
with an appropriate number from 1 to 7 on the figure. You
should put only one number in each box. You may use each number once,
more than once or not at all.
The firstanswer has been completed for you.

Explainthe roles of the sinoatrial node (SAN), atrioventricular node (AVN
and the Purkyne tissue during one heart beat. [5] [Total: 13]
[Cambridge Intemational AS andA Level Biology 9700 Paper 21, Question 3,
May - june 2010]

3. End-of-chapter answers

1D 2B
3 a i about 0.75 seconds
ii 60 ÷ 0.75 = 80 beats per minute
For b, c, d, e and f, see figure below.

4 a 1 beat = about 20 mm on the grid. 25 mm on the grid represents 1 second

so 20 mm represents 20÷25 seconds = 0.8 seconds. If one beat lasts 0.8 seconds, then in
1 second there are 1÷0.8 beats so in 1 minute there are 60÷0.8 = 75 beats.
b i this is the time during which the ventricles are contracting
ii on the grid, the distance between Q and T is about 7 mm this represents 7 ÷ 25 = 0.28

c i this is the time when the ventricles are relaxed, and are fi lling with blood
ii on the grid, the distance between T and Q is about 13 mm
this represents 13 ÷ 25 = 0.52 seconds
A quicker way of working this out is to subtract the answer to b ii from 0.8 seconds.

d i by performing varying levels of exercise


iii As heart rate increases, contraction time remains constant, but fi lling time decreases.
This indicates that the increase in heart rate is produced by a shorter time interval between
ventricular contractions, rather than by a faster ventricular contraction.

The more frequent contractions increase the rate of circulation of blood around the body,
providing extra oxygen to exercising muscles.

If this was done by shortening the time over which the ventricles contract, much of the
advantage would be lost, as less blood would probably be forced out by each contraction.
By shortening the time between contractions, the amount of blood pumped out of the heart
per unit time is increased.

5 a i right ventricle;
pulmonary vein; [2]
ii they open to allow blood to fl ow from atria to ventricles;
they close during ventricular systole/when ventricles contract;
reference to closure being caused by diff erences in pressure in atria and ventricles;
[max. 2]

c SAN produces rhythmic pulses of electrical activity;

which spread across the muscle in the atria;
causes muscle in atria to contract;
specialised tissue, in septum/near AVN, slows spread/delays transfer to ventricles;
Purkyne tissue conducts impulses down through septum;
impulses spread upwards through ventricle walls;
causing ventricles to contract from bottom upwards;
delay of 0.1 to 0.2 s after atrial walls; [max. 5]
[Total: 13]


#41. The gas exchange system

All organisms take in gases from their environment and

release gases to the environment. Animals take in O2 for
aerobic respiration and release CO2. Plants also respire,
but during daylight hours they photosynthesise at a greater
rate than they respire, and so take in CO2 and release O2.

The body surface across which these gases diffuse into

and out of the body is called the gas exchange surface. In
mammals, including humans, the gas exchange surface is
the surface of the alveoli in the lungs.

The human gas exchange system

The gas exchange surface in the lungs is extensive, very thin, well supplied with blood and
well ventilated. The trachea and bronchi provide little resistance to the movement of air to
and from the alveoli.

- The gross structure of the human gas exchange system

- Plan diagrams of the structure of the walls of the trachea, bronchi, bronchioles

Cartilage in the walls of the trachea and bronchi provides support and prevents the
tubes collapsing when the air pressure inside them is low.

Cillated epithelium is found lining the trachea, bronchi and some bronchioles. It
is a single layer of cells whose outer surfaces are covered with many thin extensions
(cilia) which are able to move. They sweep mucus upwards towards the mouth,
helping to prevent dust particles and bacteria reaching the lungs.

Goblet cells are also found in the ciliated epithelium. They secrete mucus, which
traps dust particles and bacteria.

Smooth muscle cells are found in the walls of the trachea, bronchi and bronchioles.
This type of muscle can contract slowly but for long periods without tiring. When it
contracts, it reduces the diameter of the tubes. During exercise it relaxes, widening
the tubes so more air can reach the lungs.

Elasticc fibres are found in the walls of all tubes and between the alveoli. When
breathing in, these fibres stretch to allow the alveoli and airways to expand. When
breathing out, they recoil, helping to reduce the volume of alveoli and expel air out
of the lungs.

Gas exchange at the alveolar surface

The air inside an alveolus contains a higher

concentration of O2, and a lower concentration
of CO2, than the blood in the capillaries. This
blood has been brought to the lungs in the
pulmonary artery, which carries deoxygenated
blood from the heart. O2 therefore diffuses from
the alveolus into the blood capillary, through the
thin walls of the alveolus and the capillary.
CO2 diffuses from the capillary into the blood.

The diffusion gradients for these gases are

maintained by:

• breathing movements, which draw air from

outside the body into the lungs, and then push it out again; this maintains a relatively high
concentration of O2 and low concentration of CO2 in the alveoli;
• blood flow past the alveolus, which brings deoxygenated blood and carries away
oxygenated blood.

Tidal volume and vital capacity

Air moves by mass flow into and out of the lungs during breathing. This is caused by the
contraction and relaxation of external intercostal muscles and muscles in the diaphragm.
When these contract, they increase the volume of the thoracic cavity and draw air down
through the trachea and into the bronchi and bronchioles. When they relax, the thoracic
volume decreases and air flows out, down a pressure gradient.

The volume of air that is moved into or out of the lungs during one breath is called the tidal
volume. It is generally about 0,5 dm3. The maximum amount of air that can be moved in or
out during the deepest possible breath is called the vital capacity. It is generally
somewhere between 3 dm3 and 5 dm3.

#42. Summary of Gas exchange

1 Multicellular organisms often have surfaces that

are specialised to allow exchange of gases to take
place between their bodies and the environment. Alveoli in the
lungs form the gas exchange surface in mammals.

2 In the human lungs, air passes down the trachea

and through a branching system of airways to reach
the alveoli. The airways are lined by a ciliated epithelium with
mucus-secreting goblet cells. The epithelium protects the alveoli by
moving a carpet of mucus
towards the throat, where it can be swallowed.

3 There are C-shaped rings of cartilage in the trachea and irregularly shaped blocks of
cartilage in the bronchus to keep the large airways open and so reduce resistance to the fl
ow of air. Smooth muscle in the airways contracts and relaxes to adjust the diameter of the

4 The alveoli are lined by a squamous epithelium that gives a short diff usion distance for
the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. The alveoli are well supplied with blood by the
many capillaries surrounding the gas exchange surface.

5 The constant flow of blood and the continuous ventilation of the lungs maintain
concentration gradients between blood and air for oxygen and carbon dioxide.

6 Recoil of the elastic fi bres surrounding the alveoli helps to move air out during

1. Multiple-choice test

1 A large, thick-walled blood vessel lies alongside a bronchus.

Which row names the vessel and describes its contents?

2 The diagram shows part of the wall of a bronchus in cross-section.


3 The table shows the presence or absence of ciliated epithelium and goblet cells in
airways. Which row describes a bronchiole?

4 Two airways each have smooth muscle in their walls, but only one has cartilage.
What are the airways?
A alveolus and bronchus
B alveolus and trachea
C bronchiole and bronchus
D bronchus and trachea

5 The mucus secreted into the airways is a solution of the glycoprotein mucin.
Which statement about mucin contains a mistake?
A Carbohydrate chains make mucus sticky enough to trap dust particles.
B Mucus is secreted by goblet cells by the process of endocytosis.
C Carbohydrate chains are added to protein in the Golgi apparatus of goblet cells.
D Mucus is moved over the surface of the airways by the action of ciliated cells.

6 A carbon dioxide molecule dissociates from haemoglobin and diffuses along the
shortest path into an alveolus.
Assuming that the molecule diffuses through a gap in a capillary wall, how many
phospholipid bilayers did the molecule pass through?

A 2 B 3 C 4 D 5

7 What maintains the diffusion gradient for the diffusion of oxygen out of an
1 binding of oxygen with haemoglobin to form oxyhaemoglobin
2 blood flow bringing a new supply of red blood cells
3 increased surface area of red blood cells as they are forced through narrow capillaries
4 complete replacement of the air in the alveolus with each breath

A 1, 2 and 3 only
B 1, 2 and 4 only
C 2 and 3 only
D 3 and 4 only

8 What are the adaptations of an alveolus for its role in gas exchange?
1 very thin epithelial walls
2 close contact of walls and capillaries
3 walls with elastic fibres which recoil after stretching, to help force air out
4 stiff walls to prevent collapse of the alveolus when breathing out
A 1, 2 and 3 only
B 1, 2 and 4 only
C 1 and 2 only
D 3 and 4 only

9 Which event occurring at an alveolus does not require a red blood cell?
A carbon dioxide dissociates from carbaminohaemoglobin
B carbon dioxide is formed from hydrogencarbonate ions
C carbon dioxide diffuses from the blood into an air space
D oxygen binds with haemoglobin to form oxyhaemoglobin

10 Measurements of an adult’s breathing show that at rest:

 the volume of air in a single breath is 500cm3

 350 cm3 of each breath reaches the alveoli
 2500 cm3 of air remain in the lungs after breathing out.

Which is not a correct conclusion from these measurements?

A About one sixth of the air in the lungs is replaced by breathing out and then in.
B Almost one third of each breath does not reach a gas exchange surface.
C Large changes in the composition of the air in the alveoli do not occur.

D The volume of air in the alveoli after breathing in is 3.0dm3

Answers to Multiple choice test

1. A 2. B 3. C 4. C 5. B 6. B 7. A 8. A 9. C 10. D

2. End-of-chapter questions
1 The following structures are found in the walls of the gas exchange system.
1 capillaries
2 cilia
3 elastic fibres
4 goblet cells
5 smooth muscle cells

Which would be found in the lining of an alveolus?

A 1 and 3
B 1,2 and 3
C 2 and 5
D 4 and 5

2 Cartilage is found in which structure?

A alveolus
B bronchiole
C capillary
D trachea

3 Which of the following is not a role of elastic fibres in the gas exchange system?
A contract to decrease the volume of the alveoli during expiration
B recoil to force air out of the alveoli during expiration
C stretch to accommodate more air in the alveoli during deep breathing
D stretch to increase the surface area of the alveoli for gas exchange
4 Which of the following best describes the process of gas exchange in the lungs?
A Air moves in and out of the alveoli during breathing.
B CO2 diffuses from deoxygenated blood in capillaries into the alveolar air.
C O2 and CO2 diffuse down their concentrations gradients between blood and
alveolar air.
D O2 diffuses from alveolar air into deoxygenated blood.

5 The figure shows an alveolus.

a Name:
i cells A, B and C [3]
ii the fluid at D. [1]
b Calculate the actual distance indicated by X- Y.
Show your working. [2]
c Explain how alveoli are adapted for the exchange of
gases. [4 Total [10]

6 The figure shows two cells from the lining of

the trachea.
a Name:
i cells P and R [2]
ii structures S, T, U and W [4]
b Explain:
i why cell P contains many of
the structures labelled T [2]
ii the role of structure U in cell R. [2]
c Calculate the actual length of
cell P. Show your working. [2]
d Describe the roles of cell P and cell R
in the gas exchange system. [4] [Total: 16]

7 a Copy and complete the table to compare the trachea with a

respiratory bronchiole. Use a tick (v) to indicate that the structure is
present and a cross (x) to indicate that it is not.

b Describe how the alveoli are protected against infection. [5]
[Total: 10]

8 The composition of alveolar air remains fairly constant even though gases are
exchanged with the blood in the capillaries that surround the alveoli.

a Describe the process of gas exchange between alveolar air and blood. [4]
b Explain why the composition of alveolar air remains fairly constant. [3]
c Suggest 3 ways in which the gas exchange system responds to the demands of
exercise. [3]
[Total: 10]

3. End-of-chapter answers
1A 2D 3A 4C
5 a i A squamous epithelial cell;
B red blood cell;
C endothelial cell; [3]

ii) D plasma; [1]

b distance of scale bar is 15mm 15mm = 10μm X–Y distance measured on page is 47mm
47 ÷ 15 × 10 = 31μm [2]

c (very) large number forming a large surface area;

squamous epithelial cells are very thin to give short diff usion distance;
surrounded by capillaries so well supplied with blood;
capillaries are very close so short diff usion distance;
well ventilated so air constantly refreshed;
maintains concentration gradients for oxygen and carbon dioxide; [max. 4]
[Total: 10]

6 a i P ciliated epithelial cell;

R goblet cell; [2]
ii S cilium/cilia;
T mitochondrion;
U Golgi apparatus;
W nucleolus; [4]

b i T/mitochondria provide energy/ATP;

for movement of cilia; [2]

ii U/Golgi apparatus packages proteins into vesicles;

for secretion; [2]

c length of cell P on page is 80mm 80 ’ 750 × 0.107mm or 107μm [2]

d cell P: cilia beat/move back and forth;

move mucus;
upwards/towards throat;

cell R: secretes mucus;

mucus traps dust/bacteria/viruses/pollen;
prevents entry to alveoli/gas exchange surface; [max. 4]
[Total: 16]

b mucus secreted;
by mucous glands (in the trachea)/goblet cells (in trachea and bronchi);
bacteria/viruses/pathogens, stick to mucus;
cilia move mucus, upwards/towards throat;
mucus and pathogens swallowed;
destroyed by acid in stomach;
macrophages/phagocytes, in the alveoli;
engulf and digest any pathogens; [max. 5]
[Total: 10]

8 a oxygen diff uses down its concentration gradient;

from alveolar air into red blood cell;
carbon dioxide diff uses down its concentration gradient;
from red blood cells/plasma to alveolar air;
across epithelial cells of alveolus and endothelium of capillary; [max. 4]
b breathing/ventilation;
introduces fresh air/atmospheric air;
removes stale air/air rich in carbon dioxide; [3]
c increase in:
• depth of breathing;
• rate of breathing;
• expansion of alveoli to give a larger surface area;
• diameter of airways; [max. 3]
[Total: 10]

#43. Cigarette smoking and health

Smoking is one of the major avoidable risk factors of
chronic, life-threatening diseases of the gas exchange
and circulatory systems.
The smoke from cigarettes contains several substances
that affect the gas exchange system and the
cardiovascular system. These include:

• tar, a mixture of substances including various chemicals

that act as carcinogens.
• nicotine, an addictive substance that affects the
nervous system by binding to receptors on neurones
(nerve cells) in the brain and other parts of the body. It increases the release of a
neurotransmitter called dopamine in the brain, which gives feelings of pleasure. It
increases the release of adrenaline into the blood, which in turn increases breathing rate
and heart rate. There is also some evidence that nicotine increases the likelihood of blood
clots forming.
• CO, which combines irreversibly with Hb, forming carboxyhaemoglobin. This reduces the
amount of Hb available to combine with O2, and so reduces the amount of O2 that is
transported to body tissues.

Effects of smoking on the gas exchange system

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

This is a condition in which a person has chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It can be
extremely disabling.

Chronic bronchitis

Various components of cigarette

smoke, including tar, cause goblet
cells to increase mucus production
and cilia to beat less strongly. This
causes mucus to build up, which
may partially block alveoli. This
makes gas exchange more difficult,
as the diffusion distance between
the air in the alveoli and the blood in
the capillaries is greater. The mucus
may become infected with bacteria,
causing bronchitis. Smokers often
have chronic (long-lasting)

The mucus stimulates persistent coughing, which can damage the tissues in the walls of
the airways, making them stiffer and the airways narrower.


Smoking causes inflammation in the lungs. This involves the presence of increased
numbers of white blood cells, some of which secrete chemicals that damage elastic fibres.
This makes the alveoli less elastic. They may burst, resulting in larger air spaces. This

reduces the surface area available for gas exchange. This is called emphysema. A person
with emphysema has shortness of breath, meaning they struggle to breathe as deeply as
they need to, especially when exercising.

Lung cancer

Various components of tar can cause changes in

the DNA in body cells, including the genes that
control cell division, which can cause cancer.
These substances are therefore carcinogens.
Cancers caused by cigarette smoke are most
likely to form in the lungs but may form anywhere
in the gas exchange system, and also in other
parts of the body. Smoking increases the risk of
developing all types of cancer. Symptoms of lung
cancer include shortness of breath, a chronic
cough - which may
bring up blood - chest pain, fatigue and weight

Effects of smoking on the cardiovascular system

The nicotine and CO in tobacco smoke increase the risk of developing atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is a thickening and loss of elasticity in the walls of arteries. It is caused by
build-up of plaques in the blood vessel wall. The plaques contain cholesterol and fibres.
They produce a rough surface lining the artery, which stimulates the formation of blood

A blood clot may break away from the artery wall and get stuck in a narrow vessel
elsewhere in the blood system, for example in the lungs or in the brain. This prevents blood
passing through so cells are not supplied with O2 and die. If this happens in the brain it is
called a stroke.

The loss of elasticity In an artery or arteriole also makes it more likely that the vessel will
burst when high-pressure blood pulses through. This is another cause of stroke.

If atherosclerosis happens in the coronary arteries that supply the heart muscle with
oxygenated blood, the person has coronary heart disease (CHD). Parts of the muscle
may be unable to function properly as they do not have enough O 2 for aerobic respiration.
The muscle may die. Eventually, this part of the heart may stop beating, causing a heart

Evidence for effects of smoking on health

There are two ways in which the effects of smoking on health can be investigated.

Epidemiological evidence

This consists of data collected about people's smoking habits and their health. Large
numbers of people should be involved in the study. The researchers then look for
correlations between smoking and particular diseases. Although this approach does not
provide any definite evidence about a causal link between smoking and the disease, it can
at least show whether there could be a causal relationship. If we then have physiological
evidence to show how smoking might cause the disease, then this adds up to strong
evidence that smoking does indeed cause the disease.

Experimental evidence

This consists of carrying out controlled experiments. For example, the independent variable
could be whether or not a subject smokes (or how much they smoke) and the dependent
variable could be some aspect of physiology. All other variables should be kept constant.
This is not possible with humans, as it would be unethical to make people smoke. In the
1960s, dogs and other animals were used in such experiments. The results showed
conclusively that smoking tobacco greatly increases the risk of developing lung cancer.
Experiments can also be carried out using cells grown in
tissue culture. Exposure of these cells to chemicals found in tar shows that these chemicals
can damage DNA.

Preventing and treating CHD

The risk of developing CHD is increased by:

• inheriting particular alleles of genes

• eating a diet rich in saturated fats and cholesterol
• not taking sufficient exercise
• being obese
• smoking

Severe CHD can be treated with a coronary bypass, in which a piece of blood vessel is
taken from another part of the body and sewn into place to provide an alternative route for
oxygenated blood to flow from the aorta to the heart muscle.

If the heart is damaged beyond repair, either

by CHD or other conditions, then the only long-
term option may be a heart transplant. The
heart must come from a person who has just
died (often in an accident) and has a tissue
type that is similar to the recipient. Even so,
the recipient will still have to take
immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of their
life, to prevent their immune system from
attacking the donor tissues and rejecting the

Prevention of CHD and other forms of heart

disease is clearly much better than having to carry out complex surgery. Lifestyle choices
can be made that reduce the risks listed above (apart, of course, from the genes a person
has). However, research shows that slightly obese people are more likely to recover well
after heart surgery than thinner people.

# 44. Summary of Smoking

1 Tobacco smoke contains tar, carbon
monoxide and nicotine.

2 Tar settles on the epithelium lining the

bronchi and bronchioles and stimulates
inflammation, an increase in the secretion of
mucus and an accumulation of phagocytes
from the blood.

3 Damage to the airways and alveoli occurs in

chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
In chronic bronchitis, the airways are obstructed by mucus and infection; in emphysema,
alveoli are destroyed, reducing the surface area for gas exchange.

4 Tar contains carcinogens, which cause changes in DNA in bronchial epithelial cells,
leading to the development of a bronchial carcinoma. This is lung cancer.

5 Some of the signs and symptoms of COPD are breathlessness, wheezing and constant
coughing; two of the symptoms of lung cancer are coughing up blood and chest pains.

6 Carbon monoxide combines irreversibly with haemoglobin, reducing the oxygen-carrying

capacity of the blood.

7 Nicotine stimulates the nervous system, increasing heart rate and blood pressure, and
stimulating vasoconstriction, which reduces blood fl ow to the extremities.

8 Epidemiological evidence shows a strong correlation between smoking and lung

diseases such as cancer; the link between smoking and lung cancer was confi rmed by
experimental studies.

9 Smoking damages the cardiovascular system, increasing atherosclerosis and increasing

the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

10 Atherosclerosis is the development of fatty tissue within the walls of arteries. Th e fatty
material, known as atheroma, forms plaques within the artery walls. These roughen the
lining of arteries, which may lead to thrombosis (blood clotting).

11 Coronary heart disease may be treated with drugs to lower blood cholesterol and blood
pressure. Coronary artery by-pass surgery involves using a blood vessel from the leg, arm
or chest to replace the part or parts of a coronary artery that are damaged. A heart
transplant may be necessary, but it is an expensive operation and diffi cult to find donor
hearts, so very few are performed.

12 Primary health care can reduce mortality from coronary heart disease and strokes.
Screening people for risk factors of coronary heart disease and stroke allows early
intervention. Advertising and education can promote the benefi ts of exercise, not smoking,
avoiding an excessive consumption of alcohol and eating a diet low in saturated fat. These
alternatives to treatment and surgery may be more cost-eff ective in the long term, but they
depend on people being willing and able to change their lifestyle.

1. Multiple-choice test

1 Tar in cigarette smoke contains carcinogens and is mostly deposited in the


What is the effect of these carcinogens?

A cause mutations in bronchial epithelial cells
B destroy the cilia in the bronchi
C stimulate goblet cells to produce more mucus
D reduce the diameter of the bronchi

2 Which component of tobacco smoke binds with haemoglobin to form

A carbon monoxide
B carcinogens
C nicotine
D tar

3 What is not a symptom of emphysema?

A alveoli burst
B alveoli lose elastic fibres
C bronchi are blocked by tumours
D the total surface area of the alveoli is reduced

4 Two lifelong cigarette smokers, X and Y, both have persistent coughs. X also has
difficulty breathing out and Y is getting much thinner. From these symptoms it is
possible that:
A X has bronchitis and Y has emphysema.
B X has emphysema and Y has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
C X has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and Y has lung cancer.
D X has lung cancer and Y has bronchitis.

5 Both carbon monoxide and nicotine are absorbed into the blood from tobacco

What describes their effects on the body?

6 What is the sequence of events leading to atherosclerosis?

1 blood clot forms at site of plaque
2 phagocytes attracted to site of damage
3 low density lipoproteins transport cholesterol to artery
4 damage to the lining of an artery
5 atheroma builds up and breaks through the endothelium

A 1→2→3→4→5
B 2→3→5→1→4
C 4→2→3→5→1
D 5→1→4→2→3

7 Which of the following explains the increased risk of stroke, caused by smoking

A CO increases the blood pressure and increases the chance of a blood vessel in the
brain bursting.
B Carcinogens increase the blood pressure and increase the chance of a blood vessel in
the brain bursting.
C Nicotine increases the chance of a blood clot blocking a blood vessel in the brain.
D Tars increase the chance of a blood clot blocking a blood vessel in the brain.

8 Which observation is experimental evidence that smoking tobacco causes lung


A Most people who develop cancer are smokers.

B Death rates from lung cancer are highest in people who smoke more than 25 cigarettes
per day.
C Lung cancer was a rare disease until smoking became common in the 20th century.
D When substances extracted from tar in cigarette smoke were painted onto the skin of
mice, the mice developed tumours.

9 Which dietary factors increase the risk of coronary heart disease?

A high intake of fruit and vegetables

B high intake of saturated fat and cholesterol
C low intake of sodium chloride and alcohol
D moderate intake of unsaturated fat

10 What would not form part of an effective screening programme for CHD?

A screening for high blood pressure

B screening for high cholesterol
C monitoring heart rhythms
D screening blood samples for bacterial infection a

Answers to Multiple choice test

1. A 2. A 3. C 4. C 5. A 6. C 7. C 8. D 9. B 10. D

2. End-of-chapter questions

1 Which of the following substances in tobacco smoke damage the gas exchange syst
A CO and carcinogens
B CO and nicotine
C carcinogens and tar
D nicotine and tar

2 What are the symptoms of lung cancer?

A chest pain, coughing up blood, shortness of breath
B difficulty breathing, high blood pressure, smoker's cough

C dizziness, high blood pressure, high sersting pulse rate

D poor oxygenation of the blood, shortness of breath, smoker's cough

3 Which substance in tobacco smoke decreases the oxygen-carrying

capacity of haemoglobin?
A carbon dioxide
B carbon monoxide

4. Which of the following is an example of an epidemiological investigation?

A carrying out a clinical trial of a drug for heart disease

B measuring the tar content of different brands of cigarettes
C resting substances to find out if they are carcinogenic
D resting the hypothesis that there is a correlation between the number of pe
ople who smoke and the number of cases oflung disease

5. Cigarettesmoke contains tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide.

a Describe the effect of tar on the lining of the bronchi in the lungs.
b Describe the effects of nicotine and carbon monoxide on the cardiovascular

6. The figure shows photomicrographs of alveoli from

1 a non-smoker (x 200) and 2 a smoker (x 50).

a Use the figure to describe how the lungs of smokers differ from the lungs of non-
smokers. [4]
b Smokers with lungs similar to the lungs shown in photomicrograph
2 have poor health.
i Describe the symptoms that these people may have.
ii Explain how the structure of the lungs is responsible for this poor health. [3

[Total: 11]
7 a A person is diagnosed as having lungcancer. Describe how the lungcancer

The figure shows the numbers of deaths from lung cancer of

men and women aged between 35 and 69 in the UK between 1950 and 2007.

b i Explain the advantage of calculating death rates as 'per

100000 of the population'.[2]
ii Use the information in the figure to compare the change in men's death rate
from lung cancer between 1950 and 2007 with that in women. [
iii Suggest explanations for the changes in death rates shown in the figure. [
[Total: 16]

8 Cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke are
major causes of illness and death
throughout the world. People diagnosed with these
diseases often require expensi e treatments such as surgery or long-term drug
a Explain the difference between CHD and stroke.
b Outline how coronary by-
pass surgery is used in the treatment of CHD. [2]

The treatment of people with cardiovascular diseases costs the countries of the
European Union (EU) about 10% of their total expenditure on health.
c Describe the steps that health authorities and governments could take to pr
event people requiring this expensive treatment. [6]
d Discuss the difficulties in reducing the number of people who develop cardi
ovascular diseases. [4]
[Total: 14]

3. End-of-chapter answers

1C 2A 3B 4D

5 a tar stimulates, goblet cells/mucous glands, to secrete more mucus;

paralyses/destroys, cilia;
mucus not moved up the, bronchioles/bronchi, trachea/airways;
mucus accumulates in the airways;
bacteria multiply within the airways;
(leads to) chronic bronchitis;
tar contains, carcinogens/named carcinogen e.g. benzpyrene;
(tar) settles on bronchial, epithelial cells/epithelium;
mutation(s)/change to DNA;
growth of tumour;
bronchial carcinoma/lung cancer;

b nicotine: increases heart rate;

increases blood pressure;
increases chance of blood clotting/promotes thrombosis;
decreases fl ow of blood to, extremities/fi ngers/ toes;
carbon monoxide: combines (irreversibly) with haemoglobin;
forms carboxyhaemoglobin;
reduces oxygen-carrying capacity of, haemoglobin/ blood;
damages lining of arteries;
promotes atherosclerosis;

6 a fewer alveoli;
larger air spaces;
fewer capillaries;
scar tissue in bronchioles/bronchi;
few/no cilia;
few/no goblet cells;
enlarged mucous glands;
enlarged smooth muscle;
may be pre-cancerous/cancerous cells;
tumour/bronchial carcinoma; [max. 4]

b i difficulty breathing/breathlessness;
not able to do (much) exercise; [max. 4]

ii small(er) surface area for gas exchange;

less oxygen absorbed;
poor oxygenation of the blood;
bronchi/bronchioles/airways blocked by mucus;
increased resistance to fl ow of air; [max. 3]
[Total: 11]

7 a (tar) settles on bronchial epithelial

carcinogens/named carcinogen
(in tar) e.g. benzpyrene;
causes mutation(s)/change to
DNA (in epithelial cells);
in (proto onco)genes that control
cell division/ mitosis;
cancer cells do not respond to
signals/growth factors/other cells;
cancer cells divide uncontrollably;
no programmed cell
cells do not diff erentiate/become
cells form tumour/bronchial
tumour supplied with blood vessels/lymph vessels; [max. 6]

b i data are standardised;

populations diff er from year to year;
allows valid comparisons; [max. 2]

ii death rate for men always higher than for women;

use of the data to make a comparison between death rates for men and women;
death rate for men rises to a maximum in 1966 and then decreases;
death rate for women increases later than for men;
death rate for women increases to a maximum in late 1980s/1990 and then decreases;
decrease in death rate for women not as steep as for men;
use of the data to show increase or decrease in death rate for men or women; [max. 4]

iii men started smoking earlier than women;

more men smoked than women;
smoking became less popular among men from 1950s/1960s onwards;
increase in number of women who smoked from the same time;
link made between smoking and cancer;
anti-smoking campaigns;
lung cancer takes a long time to develop/be diagnosed;
decrease in death rate did not happen until many years after decrease in popularity of
[max. 4]
[Total: 16]

8 a CHD: narrowing of coronary arteries that supply oxygenated blood to heart muscle;
stroke: interruption of blood supply to part of the brain as a result of blockage or
bursting of an artery (or arteries), leading to death of brain cells; [2]

b vein taken from the chest, arm or leg;

attached to coronary artery either side of blockage;
may be one or more by-passes if there are several blockages in the coronary arteries;
[max. 2]

c health promotion campaigns/publicity/leafl ets/ advertising;

provide information about maintaining fitness/ healthy eating/stopping
smoking/reducing alcohol intake;
increase tax on tobacco/alcohol to reduce consumption;
provide health warnings on foods that are high in saturated fat;
print health warnings on tobacco products;
ban smoking in public places;
provide drugs for, hypertension/high blood cholesterol;
provide screening for, risk factors/high blood pressure/high blood cholesterol;
in people at greatest risk;
provide, leisure facilities/fi tness centres; [max. 6]

d many risk factors involved;

some of which are genetic factors;
factors that cannot be modifi ed (e.g. sex, age, genes);
people are resistant to advice about changing lifestyle/diet;
cardiovasular disease most common in lower income groups;
who may not be able to aff ord to buy healthier food/use leisure facilities;
people at most risk may not be screened for risk factors; [max. 4]
[Total: 14]


# 45. The immune system – Phagocytes

The human immune system is made up of
the organs and tissues involved in destroying
pathogens inside the body.
There are 2 main groups of cells involved:
• phagocytes: ingest and digest pathogens
or infected cells;
• lymphocytes:
- recognise specific pathogens through
interaction with receptors in their cell surface
- respond in one of several ways, for example by secreting antibodies.


Phagocytes are produced in the bone marrow by the mitotic division of precursor cells. This
produces cells that develop into monocytes or neutrophils.

Monocytes are inactive cells which circulate in the blood. They eventually leave the blood,
often as the result of encountering chemical signals indicating that bacteria or viruses are
present. As monocytes mature, they develop more RER, Golgi apparatus and lysosomes.
When they leave the blood they become macrophages.

They engulf bacteria by endocytosis and digest them inside phagosomes. Monocytes and
macrophages can live for several months.

Macrophage engulfing bacteria. Credit: Biology Helper


Similar precursor cells in bone marrow produce neutrophils. These also travel in blood.
They leave the blood in large numbers at sites of infection and engulf and digest bacteria in
a similar way to macrophages. A neutrophil lives for only a few days.

Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a neutrophil white blood cell (green)
engulfing methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria (MRSA, pink).
Credit: Science Photo Library.
Phagocytes are able to act against any invading organisms. Their response is non-specific.

Several different types of cell, including macrophages, place antigens of pathogens they
have encountered in their cell surface membranes, where there is a good chance that a B-
lymphocyte or T-lymphocyte may encounter them. These cells are called antigen-
presenting cells (APC).

# 46. The immune response – Lymphocytes

Lymphocytes, unlike phagocytes, act against specific pathogens. Each

lymphocyte contains a set of genes that codes for the production of a
particular type of receptor. We have many million different types, each
producing just one type of receptor.

Both B-lymphocytes and T-lymphocytes are made in bone marrow. B-lymphocytes then
spread through the body and settle in lymph nodes, although some continue to circulate in
the blood. T-lymphocytes collect in the thymus gland, where they mature before spreading
into the same areas as B-lymphocytes. The thymus gland disappears at around the time of

Both types of lymphocyte have a large, rounded nucleus that takes up most of the cell.
They can only be told apart by their different actions.

During the maturation process, any lymphocytes that produce receptors that would bind
with those on the body's own cells are destroyed. This means that the remaining
lymphocytes will only act against non-self molecules that are not normally found in the
body. Non-self molecules, such as those on the surfaces of invading bacteria, are
called antigens.

#47. Action of B-lymphocytes

A B-lymphocyte places some of its specific receptor molecules in its cell

surface membrane. If it encounters an antigen that binds with this receptor,
the B-lymphocyte is activated. It divides repeatedly by mitosis to produce a
clone of genetically identical plasma cells.

Some of these synthesise and secrete large quantities of proteins

called immmunoglobulins or antibodies. The antibodies have the same binding sites as
the specific receptors in the B-lymphocyte's membrane, so they can bind with the antigens.

This maydirectly destroy or neutralise the antigens, or it may make it easier for phagocytes
to destroy them.

(* MHC - major histocompatibility complex)

Some of the clone of B-lymphocyte cells become memory cells. These remain in the blood
for many years. They are able to divide rapidly to produce plasma cells if the same antigen
invades the body again. More antibody is therefore secreted more rapidly than when the
first invasion happened, and it is likely that the pathogens will be destroyed before they
have a chance to reproduce. The person has become immune to this pathogen.


Antibodies are glycoproteins called immunoglobulins that are secreted by plasma cells in
response to the presence of antigens.

The variable region of the immunoglobulin molecule is specific to the particular clone of B-
lymphocytes that secreted it. It is able to bind with a particular type of antigen molecule.
Immunoglobulins can:
• stick bacteria together, making it impossible for them to divide or making it easier for
phagocytes to destroy them;
• neutralise toxins (poisonous chemicals) produced by pathogens;
• prevent bacteria from sticking to body tissues;
• bind to viruses and prevent them infecting cells.

#48. Action of T-lymphocytes

T-lymphocytes include T helper cells and T killer cells. Both of these
types of cell place their specific receptors in their cell surface membranes.
On encountering the relevant antigen, they are activated and divide by
mitosis to form a clone.

Activated T helper cells secrete chemicals called cytokines. These stimulate B-

lymphocytes to produce plasma cells, and stimulate monocytes and macrophages to attack
and destroy pathogens.

Activated T killer (cytotoxic) cells attach to body cells that display the antigen matching their
receptor. This happens when a body cell has been invaded by a virus. The T killer cell
destroys the infected body cell.

Someof the clone of T cells become memory cells, which remain in the body and can react
swiftly if the same pathogen invades again.

#49. Immunity and vaccination

A person is immune to a disease if the pathogen that causes

the disease is unable to reproduce in the body and cause
illness. This happens when the body already contains, or is
able rapidly to make, large quantities of antibodies against the
antigens associated with the pathogen.


Active immunity occurs when the person's own lymphocytes make the antibody. This
could be natural, as a result of the person having previously had the disease and forming B
or T memory cells. It could also be artificial, as a result of vaccination. This involves
introducing weakened pathogens into the body. The lymphocytes react to the antigens on
the pathogens by producing antibodies and memory cells.

Passive immunity occurs when antibodies from elsewhere are introduced into the body. In
a young baby this can be natural, as the baby acquires antibodies from its mother in breast
milk. It can also be artificial, as the result of an injection of antibodies obtained from
another animal.

Active immunity lasts much longer than passive immunity, because memory cells last a
long time, whereas individual antibodies do not. Injections of antibodies, however, can be
useful if a person requires instant immunity, for example if an aid worker is about to travel to
an environment where risk of a disease such as hepatitis is high.


A vaccine contains a killed or weakened part of a germ that is responsible for infection.
Because the germ has been killed or weakened before it is used to make the vaccine, it can
not make the person sick.

When a person receives a vaccine, the body reacts by making protective substances called
"antibodies". The antibodies are the body's defenders because they help to kill off the
germs that enter the body.

In other words, vaccines expose people safely to germs, so that they can become protected
from a disease but not come down with the disease.

Global eradication of infectious disease

The world Health Organization has helped to organise world-wide campaigns to eliminate
the serious infectious diseases smallpox and poliomyelitis. Smallpox has
been successfully eradicated by vaccinating large numbers of children with weakened
viruses similar to those that cause smallpox. This succeeded because the vaccine is highly
effective. The programme involved the vaccination of all relatives and contacts of anyone
who had the disease, called ring vaccination. The virus did not mutate, so the same vaccine
could be used everywhere.

Diseases that have not been successfully eradicated include:

• Measles. This is partly because several successive doses of vaccine are required to
produce immunity, especially in children who have weak immune systems because of poor
diet or living conditions. The virus is very infective, so a very high percentage of people
must be vaccinated to ensure a population is free of it. Booster vaccinations are also
needed. This is difficult to achieve in places where infrastructure is poor.

• TB. The BCG vaccination gives only partial immunity, although new vaccines are now
being developed which it is hoped will be more effective. TB is difficult to treat because the
bacteria live inside body cells. Many strains have developed resistance to antibiotics.

• Malaria. No effective vaccine has yet been developed against Plasmodium. This is a
eukaryotic organism, not a bacterium or virus, and is not affected by antibodies produced
by B-lymphocytes or by T-lymphocytes.

• Cholera. This disease is caused by the bacterium Vibrio choterae. In the body, it lives and
reproduces in the intestine, which is outside the body tissues and not easily reachable by
lymphocytes or antibodies. Current cholera vaccines are ineffective, partly because injected
vaccines do not readily reach the intestines. Oral vaccines are being developed, which are
proving more effective.

Vaccines are, of course, completely ineffective against any diseases that are not caused by
pathogens, such as sickle cell anaemia.

#50. Summary of Immunity

1 Phagocytes and lymphocytes are the
cells of the immune system.

2 The diagram shows how to recognise

phagocytes and lymphocytes in microscope
slides and photomicrographs of blood.

3 Phagocytes originate in the bone marrow and are produced there throughout life. There
are two types: neutrophils that circulate in the blood and enter infected tissues, and
macrophages that remain inside tissues. They both destroy bacteria and viruses by

4 Antigens are ‗foreign‘ (non-self) macromolecules that stimulate the immune system.

5 Lymphocytes also originate in bone marrow. There are two types: B-lymphocytes (B cells)
and T-lymphocytes (T cells). As they mature, B cells and T cells gain glycoprotein receptors
that are specific to each cell. Each cell divides to form a small clone of cells that spreads
throughout the body in the blood and in the lymphoid tissue (e.g. lymph nodes and spleen).

6 B cells mature in bone marrow. T cells mature in the thymus gland. During maturation,
many T cells are destroyed, as they express receptors that interact with self-antigens. If left
to circulate in the body, they would destroy cells and tissues. The T cells that are not
destroyed recognise non-self antigens, such as those on the surfaces of pathogens.

7 During an immune response, those B and T cells that have receptors specific to the
antigen are

8 When B cells are activated they form plasma cells which secrete antibodies.

9 T cells do not secrete antibodies; their surface receptors are similar to antibodies and
antigens. They develop into either T helper cells or killer T cells (cytotoxic T cells). T helper
secrete cytokines that control the immune system, activating B cells and killer T cells, which
infected host cells.

10 During an immune response, memory cells are formed which retain the ability to divide
rapidly and develop into active B or T cells on a second exposure to the same antigen
(immunological memory). The diagram on the next page summarises the actions of B cells
and T cells during an immune response.

11 Antibodies are globular glycoproteins. They all have one or more pairs of identical heavy
polypeptides and of identical light polypeptides. Each type of antibody interacts with one
antigen via the specific shape of its variable region. Each molecule of the simplest antibody
(IgG) can bind to two antigen molecules. Larger antibodies (IgM and IgA) have more than
two antigen-binding sites.

12 Antibodies agglutinate bacteria, prevent viruses infecting cells, coat bacteria and viruses
to aid
phagocytosis, act with plasma proteins to burst bacteria, and neutralise toxins.

13 Active immunity is the production of antibodies and active T cells during a primary
immune response to an antigen acquired either naturally by infection or artifi cially by
vaccination. This gives permanent immunity.

14 Passive immunity is the introduction of antibodies either naturally across the placenta or
in breast milk, or artifi cially by injection. This gives temporary immunity.

15 Vaccination confers artificial active immunity by introducing a small quantity of an

antigen by
injection or by mouth. This may be a whole living organism, a dead one, a harmless version
of a toxin (toxoid) or a preparation of antigens.

1. Multiple-choice test

1 What are produced from a B-lymphocyte?

2 What is the function of plasma cells during an immune response?

A to become memory cells

B to ingest invading bacteria
C to kill cells infected with viruses
D to secrete antibodies

3 After an immune response, memory cells remain in the blood for a long time.
What is the function of a memory cell?

A to divide to make plasma cells

B to ingest invading bacteria
C to kill cells infected with viruses
D to secrete antibodies

4 Which of the following describes an antigen?

A binds to a molecule that can stimulate an immune response

B binds with a non-self protein
C does not stimulate an immune response inside the body that produced it
D stimulates an immune response when recognised as non-self

5 Newborn babies acquire immunity from their mothers.

Why is this immunity only temporary?

A no memory cells are produced by the baby

B not enough antibodies are produced
C the antibodies act only in the mother
D the immunity is not inherited

6 The statements describe molecular structure.

1 an insoluble fibrous glycoprotein
2 has quaternary structure held together by disulfide bonds

3 has two identical binding sites

4 made up of two longer and two shorter chains

Which statements describe an antibody molecule?

A 1, 2, 3 and 4
B 1, 2 and 3 only
C 2, 3 and 4 only
D 3 and 4 only

7 An individual’s immunity may result from:

1 having memory cells after an infection
2 having memory cells after being injected with dead bacteria
3 being injected with antibodies
4 receiving antibodies from breast milk.

Which row shows an example of the different types of immunity?

8 The drawing shows some blood cells.

9 The statements are about the role of a phagocyte.

1 bacteria in phagocytic vacuole


2 hydrolysis of bacteria
3 phagocyte attracted to bacteria
4 bacteria taken into phagocyte by endocytosis
5 fusion of lysosomes with phagocytic vacuole

Which of the following shows the sequence of events after antibodies have become
attached to a pathogenic bacterium?
A 1→5→2→3→4
B 3→4→1→5→2
C 4→1→3→5→2
D 5→2→3→4→1

10 The statements describe lymphocytes.

1 Each B-lymphocyte can make only one type of antibody.
2 Both B-lymphocytes and T-lymphocytes circulate in the blood and lymph.
3 Some T-lymphocytes stimulate B-lymphocytes to divide.
4 B-lymphocytes can develop into plasma cells and secrete antibodies.
5 Some T-lymphocytes kill any of the body‘s cells that are infected with pathogens.

Which statements are correct?

A 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
B 1, 2, 3 and 4 only
C 2, 3 and 4 only
D 3, 4 and 5 only

Answers to Multiple choice test

1. D 2. D 3. A 4. D 5. A 6. C 7. B 8. B 9. B 10. A

2. End-of-chapter questions
1 A student made drawings of four blood cells shown in the figure.

The correct identification of the cells is:

2 The following occur during the response to infection.

1 bacteria attach to cell surface membrane of phagocyte

2 movement of phagocyte to site of infection by bacteria

3 formation of a phagocytic vacuole
4 fusion of lysosomes to the phagocytic vacuole
5 infolding of cell surface membrane
6 release of enzymes into the phagocytic vacuole
In which order do these events occur?
A 1,2,3,4,6,5
B 1,2,3,5,4,6
C 2, 1, 3, 6, 5,4
D 2, 1,5,3,4,6

3 Which of the following explains why antibody molecules have quaternary struct
A antibodies have a variable region
B antibodies have complex 3D shapes
C antibodies have four polypeptides
D antibodies have more than one polypeptide

4 Which type of immunity is provided by vaccination?

A artificial active
B artificial passive
C natural active
D natural passive

5 Tetanus is a bacterial disease that may be acquired during accidents in

which a wound is exposed to the soil.

B- lymphocytes originate from stem cells

mature and circulate around the body.
Following infection by tetanus bacteria, some B-
lymphocytes will become
activated as shown in the figure.

a With reference to the figure, name:

i the place where the stem cells divide to form B-
lymphocytes [1]

ii the type of division that occurs at E [1]

iii the activated B-Iymphocyte, F [1]
iv the molecule G. [1]

b Use the information in the figure to explain the differences between the following
pairs of terms:
i antigen and antibody [3]
ii self and non-self [2]

c Explain how cell H is responsible for long-term immunity to tetanus. [3]

[Total: 12]
6 Phagocytes and lymphocytes are both present in samples of blood.
a Describe how the structure of a phagocyte differs from the structure of a
lymphocytes. [3]
T- lymphocytes are involved in immune responses to pathogens that invade
the body. Immune responses involve the following:
• antigen presentation
• clonal selection
• clonal expansion
Certain groups of T-
lymphocytes are activated when the body is infected with the measles virus.
b Using the information above, describe what happens to T-
lymphocytes during an immune response to measles. [6]
c State how the response of B-
lymphocytes during an immune response is different to the response of T-
lymphocytes. [2] [Total: 11]

7 Measles is a common viral infection. Babies gain passive immunity to measles.

a Explain:
i the term passive immunity [1]
ii how babies gain passive immunity. [2]

A vaccine for measles has been available since the 1960s. Global vaccination
programmes include providing vaccination for measles, but it is important
that the vaccine is not given to babies too early.

b Explain why:
i the vaccine for measles should not be given too early [3]
ii measles has not been eradicated, even though a vaccine has existed since
the 1960s. [3]
c Smallpox was an infectious disease that was finally eradicated in the late 197
0s. Explain how vaccination
was used in the eradication of smallpox. [6] [Total: 15]

8 The figure is a diagram of an antibody molecule.


a Describe briefly how antibody molecules are produced and secreted. [4]
b Name:
i the regions X and Y [2]
ii the bond labelled z. [1]
c Explain how the structure of an antibody is related to its function.[4][Total: 11]

3. End-of-chapter answers
1 C 2 D 3 D 4 A

5 a i bone marrow; [1]

ii mitosis; [1]
iii plasma cell; [1]
iv antibody; [1]

b i antigen refers to any substance that stimulates the production of antibodies; antibodies
are proteins produced by, plasma cells/(activated) B-lymphocytes; each antibody is specific
to an antigen; [3]
ii self refers to antigen(s) within a person‘s body (e.g. those of the ABO blood group
system which they have); all the antigens that the immune system does not recognise as
foreign; [max. 1]
non-self refers to antigen(s) that are not in a person‘s body (e.g. those of,
pathogens/the ABO system, that they do not have); all the antigens that the immune system
recognises as foreign; [max. 1]

c memory cell;
remains in circulation/lymph system/body;
is specific to an antigen on tetanus bacteria;
responds quickly to another infection by (same strain of) pathogen;
as there are a large number/is a large clone;
during (secondary/subsequent) immune response;
differentiate into plasma cells;
to give large number of antibody molecules in short space of time; [max. 3] [Total: 12]

6 a phagocyte has lobed nucleus;

larger quantity of cytoplasm; [3]
Reject statement that phagocyte is larger, as question asks for diff erences in structure,
not size.

b presentation of antigen(s) by macrophages/other APCs;

some T-lymphocytes have receptors complementary to antigen;
these are selected;
divide by mitosis;
helper T cells secrete cytokines;
to activate B-lymphocytes;
to secrete antibodies;
killer T cells search for cells infected by, parasite/ pathogen;
destroy host cell (and pathogen);
prevent reproduction of pathogen; [max. 6]
c B-lymphocytes can be activated by presence of, antigen/pathogen alone;
without involvement of macrophages;
B-lymphocytes diff erentiate into plasma cells;
secrete antibodies (T cells do not secrete antibodies); [max. 2] [Total: 11]

7 a i immunity is gained by the transfer of antibodies from another source;

no immune response within the body;
have not entered the body; [max. 2]

ii natural passive immunity: antibodies cross the placenta;

in breast milk/colostrum; [max. 1]

b i baby has passive immunity;

antibodies against measles antigens (from mother) will interact with measles viruses/
antigens in vaccine;
so prevent an immune response;
therefore no memory cells will be formed; [max. 3]

ii difficulty with timing first vaccination;

many children are not vaccinated at appropriate time;
measles is highly infectious;
vaccination programmes concentrated on other infectious diseases which have more
severe effect, such as smallpox and polio; [max. 3]

c herd/mass vaccination/immunity;
prevented spread through population;
surveillance for infected people;
very easy to identify infected people/no symptomless carriers;
contact tracing to fi nd people who may have become infected; ring
vaccination/vaccination of all people in surrounding area;
prevented spread from isolated infected people;
one dose of the vaccine was enough to give lifelong immunity/no boosters required;
vaccine contained ‗live‘ virus;
smallpox virus was stable/did not mutate;
no antigenic variation;
same vaccine was used for whole programme/did not need to be changed; heat-
stable/freeze-dried, vaccine;
suitable for hot countries/isolated areas/rural areas;
bifurcated/steel, needle made vaccinating easy;
did not need to be done by health professionals; [max. 6] [Total: 15]

8 a transcription (of DNA);

translation (of RNA);
assembly of amino acids to make four polypeptides;
assembly of polypeptides to make antibody molecule;
packaged in Golgi body into vesicles;
exocytosis; [max. 4]

b i X = variable region/antigen-binding site; Y = constant region; [2]

ii disulfide; [1]
c variable region(s) are antigen-binding sites;
variable regions, are specific/complementary, to antigen;
variable region has diff erent amino acid sequences for diff erent antigens;
20 different amino acids can be arranged to form diff erent shapes;
disulfide bonds hold polypeptides together;
hinge region allows flexibility in binding to antigen;
constant region for binding to receptors on phagocytes; [max. 4] [Total: 11]


#51. Ecology
Ecology is the study of the ways in which organisms
interact with their environment.

Levels of ecological organisation

A habitat is a type of environment in which an

organism lives. For example, the habitat of a giraffe is
grassland (savannah) with groups of trees such
as Acacia. The habitat of a woodlouse (Oniscus) is a
humid, dark place such as beneath the bark of a rotting log. The habitat of a mangrove tree
is a muddy sea shore that is regularly flooded by the tide.

A population is a group of organisms of the same species that lives in the same place at
the same time. If the species is a sexually-reproducing one, the organisms in the population
are able to interbreed with one another. For example, all the giraffes in a particular area of
savannah make up the giraffe population.

A community is all the organisms, of all the different species, that live in the same place at
the same time. For example, all the giraffes and other animals, all the plants, all the fungi
and all the bacteria make up a community in the savannah. Each type of habitat tends to
have its own typical community.

An ecosystem is the interactions that take place between all the organisms in a community
and their non-living environment. For example, an ecosystem in an area of African
savannah would include the predator-prey relationships between giraffes and lions, the
feeding relationships between grass and giraffes, the exchanges of oxygen and carbon
dioxide between the air and the living organisms, the availability of mineral ions in the soil
that can be taken up by plant roots, and so on. Strictly speaking, an ecosystem is not
simply a place but a dynamic series of interactions between organisms and their

A niche is the role of an organism in an ecosystem. Different species have different niches,
although these may overlap. For example, both giraffes and zebras are herbivores that
require open grassland and a water supply. However, giraffes are able to browse on
vegetation from high tree branches, whereas zebras graze on grass and other low-growing

Note that you are expected to have studied an ecosystem in an area familiar to you.

Energy flow through ecosystems

Living organisms require energy to maintain metabolic processes that keep their cells alive.
Most of this energy is released from organic molecules such as glucose by respiration. The
energy released Is used to make ATP.The energy can then be released in smallquantities,
exactly when and where it is required, by hydrolysing the ATP to ADP and inorganic

Each organism therefore needs a supply of energy-containing organic molecules in order to

be able to make ATP. Organisms that can use energy from other sources, such as sunlight,
to make these organic molecules are calld producers. In most ecosystems, the producers

are plants, which make carbohydrates by photosynthesis. They absorb energy from sunlight
and incorporate it into carbohydrates, where it is stored as chemical potential energy.
Animals and fungi depend on taking in organic molecules that were originally synthesised
by plants. They are consumers.

A food chain shows the pathway by which energy is passed from one organism to another.
The energy is transferred in the form of chemical potential energy in food. The arrows in the
food chain indicate the direction of energy transfer. A food web is a network of
interconnecting food chains.

The position at which an organism feeds in a food chain is called a trophic level.
Producers are at the first trophic level, primary consumers (herbivores) at the second
trophic level, secondary consumers (carnivores that feed on herbivores) at the third trophic
level, and so on.

Large quantities of energy are lost in the transfer between one trophic level and the next.
For example, only about 10% of the energy in the grass in an area of savannah is passed
on to herbivores. This is because:

• Not all the grass is eaten. Some is trampled or covered by animal droppings, or may grow
too low to the ground for animals to be able to graze it. Pollen from grass flowers may be
blown away by the wind before it is eaten. Leaves may die and fall to the ground before
they are eaten.

• Not all the grass is available to be eaten. The roots, for example, are underground where
few animals will find and eat them.

• Of the grass that is eaten, much is indigestible inside the alimentary canals of the
herbivores. Cellulose and lignin are difficult to digest and may simply pass out in the faeces
rather than being absorbed into the herbivores' bodies.

• The grass plants require energy themselves, which they obtain by respiration. This breaks
down organic molecules to carbon dioxide and water, and the energy is eventually lost as
heat, so is no longer available to herbivores.

The diagram shows the quantities of energy transferred between organisms in a food chain
in a salt marsh. The figures are in kJ m -2 y -1. Only three trophic levels are shown.

We can use this diagram to calculate the efficiency of energy transfer between the primary
consumers (herbivorous insects) and the secondary consumers (spiders).

efficiency = (kJ of energy transferred to secondary consumers : kJ of energy transferred to

primary consumers) x 100
= (30:300) x 100
= 10%

# 52. The nitrogen cycle

Living organisms need nitrogen because nitrogen

atoms are an essential part of proteins, nucleic acids
and ATP. The air contains about 78% nitrogen gas.
However, this is in the form of nitrogen molecules, in
which two nitrogen atoms are held together by a very
strong triple covalent bond. This is very unreactive.

Nitrogen molecules freely diffuse in and out of the

bodies of living organisms, but take no part in the
metabolic reactions inside their cells.

Nitrogen fixation

For nitrogen to become involved in metabolic reactions, it must first be converted to a

different form by combining with oxygen or hydrogen. This process is called nitrogen
fixation. It can be done by:

• Lightning, which provides very high temperatures that can cause nitrogen and oxygen
molecules in the air to combine to form nitrogen oxides; these can then be washed to the
ground in rain.

• Industrial processes in which nitrogen is combined with hydrogen to produce ammonia,

NH3; this is then used to manufacture fertilisers such as ammonium nitrate.

• Nitrogen-fixing bacteria, which use the enzyme nitrogenase to combine nitrogen and
hydrogen to produce ammonium ions. Some of these bacteria live free in the soil, lakes or
oceans. Others, for example Rhizobium, live symbiotically in root nodules in several
different species of plants, particularly legumes such as peas and beans.

Formation of amino acids

Plants are able to take nitrate ions, N03-, or ammonium ions, NH4+, from the soil into their
root hairs. This may be done by diffusion or active transport. These ions can be combined
with carbohydrates to produce amino acids.

Consumers obtain their nitrogen by eating proteins and other nitrogen-containing organic
compounds that were originally synthesised by plants.

Decay and ammonification

Animals excrete nitrogen-containing compounds such as ammonia and urea. When they
die, protein molecules in their bodies are broken down by enzymes produced by bacteria,
fungi and other decomposer organisms. These processes add ammonia and ammonium
ions to the soil.


Nitrifying bacteria oxidise ammonia to nitrate ions. This is done in two stages:

• Nitrosomonas oxidises ammonium ions to nitrite ions, N02-;

• Nitrobacter oxidises nitrite ions to nitrate ions, N03-.

The nitrate ions can then be taken up by plant roots.



Several different types of bacteria get their energy by converting nitrate ions to nitrogen
gas. This process is called denitrification, and it returns nitrogen gas to the atmosphere.

#53. Summary of Ecology

1 A habitat is a place where an organism lives.

The niche of an organism is the role that it plays
in the community.
2 A population is a group of organisms of the
same species, living in the same place at the
same time, that can interbreed with one another.
A community is all the organisms, of all the diff
erent species, living in the same place at the
same time.
3 An ecosystem is an interacting system of organisms and their environment, more or less

4 Energy flows from one organism to another in the form of chemical energy in organic
molecules in food. The pathways of energy flow can be shown in a food chain or food web,
in which the arrows show the direction of energy flow.

5 The first organism in a food chain or food web is a producer. In most food chains, plants
are the
producers. They transfer energy from sunlight into chemical energy in organic molecules in
the process of photosynthesis. All other organisms in a food chain are consumers.

6 Each step in a food chain is a trophic level. Energy is lost as it passes from one trophic
level to the next. The percentage of energy in one trophic level that passes to the next
trophic level is generally around 10%. Th is value is the effi ciency of energy transfer. It is
generally relatively low for transfers from producers to primary consumers, because of the
high content of cellulose in plants, which is not easily digested by most animals but contains
a lot of energy.

7 Nitrogen atoms are an essential part of many organic molecules, especially proteins and
nucleic acids. Although a high percentage of the atmosphere is nitrogen gas, nitrogen
molecules are very unreactive and cannot be used by most living organisms. The nitrogen
must be fi xed – converted into a more reactive form such as ammonium ions or nitrate ions
– before plants can make use of it. Lightning and nitrogen-fixing bacteria are the two most
important natural methods of nitrogen fixation.

8 Plants use ammonium ions or nitrate ions to make amino acids and then proteins.
Consumers obtain amino acids from plants.

9 Decomposers break down nitrogen-containing molecules in dead plants and animals, or

in their
waste products, such as urea. Ammonia is produced, which is converted to nitrite ions and
then nitrate ions by nitrifying bacteria. Denitrifying bacteria convert nitrate ions back to
nitrogen gas.

1. Multiple-choice test

1 Which ecological term is defined as ‘the particular location and type of

environment occupied by an organism’?
A ecosystem
B habitat

C niche
D population

2 What is meant by an ecosystem?

A all the biotic and abiotic components of a given environment
B all the populations of organisms in a given environment
C all the chemical and physical factors acting in a given environment
D the community of organisms in a given environment

3 Which step in a marine food chain involves transfer of energy from trophic level 2
to trophic level 3?

A phytoplankton carry out photosynthesis

B zooplankton feed on phytoplankton
C small fish feed on zooplankton
D large fish feed on smaller fish

4 Which step in a marine food chain involves the smallest transfer of energy?

A phytoplankton carry out photosynthesis

B zooplankton feed on phytoplankton
C small fish feed on zooplankton
D large fish feed on smaller fish

5 Which statement explains why herbivores obtain and store in their bodies less than
10% of the net primary productivity of the plants available for them to eat?

A Not all parts of a plant are available to be eaten.

B Not all parts of a plant can be digested.
C Some plant material is tough or distasteful and is not eaten.
D Some plant material is eaten by other herbivores.

6 Which bacterial reaction in the nitrogen cycle decreases soil fertility?

A oxidation of NH4+ to NO2− by Nitrosomonas

B oxidation of NO2− to NO3− by Nitrobacter
C conversion of N2 to NH4+ by bacteria using nitrogenase

D conversion of NO3− to N2 by bacteria in water-logged soil

7 Rhizobium bacteria form colonies in nodules on the roots of some plants.

What is the role of these bacteria in the nitrogen cycle?

A to produce ammonium ions from nitrogen gas

B to produce ammonium ions from urea
C to produce nitrate ions from nitrite ions

D to produce nitrogen gas from nitrate ions

8 The percentage of energy consumed by an organism that is actually absorbed by

the organism varies for different foods.

The table shows the percentage absorption of different foods by small birds.

What explains the differences in percentage absorption?

A A bird in trophic level 3 uses more energy to digest its food than any of the birds in
trophic level 2.
B More energy is used to digest caterpillars than to digest seeds.
C Nectar requires little energy to digest.
D Seeds contain more cellulose than do plant leaves.

9 The energy trapped by grassland plants is 10 000 kJm−2 year−1 .

2000 kJm−2 year−1 is used by the plants in respiration.
The energy passed along a food chain based on this grassland is shown, in
kJm−2 year−1 .

What percentage of the energy available to the herbivore passes to carnivore 2?

A 0.32%
B 0.40%
C 3.2%
D 4.0%

10 Plots of white clover plants were inoculated with three different strains of
Rhizobium bacteria, P, Q and R, and the mass of harvested clover compared with
that from plots that were not inoculated and plots that were treated with nitrate
fertiliser. The results are shown in the

What may be concluded from these results?

1 Adding nitrate fertiliser increases the

growth of white clover.
2 Inoculating unfertilised plots of white clover
with Rhizobium increases growth of the clover.
3 Different strains of Rhizobium differ in their ability to fix nitrogen.

A 1, 2 and 3
B 1 and 2 only
C 2 and 3 only
D 3 only

Answers to Multiple choice test

1. B 2. A 3. C 4. D 5. D 6. D 7. A 8. C 9. B 10. D

2. End-of-chapter questions

1 Nitrogenase is an enzyme found in nitrogen-fixing bacteria. What reaction is

catalysed by nitrogenase?
A the conversion of nitrate ions to nitrite ions
B the conversion of nitrite ions to nitrate ions
C the conversion of nitrogen gas to ammonium ions
D the conversion of nitrogen gas to nitrate ions

2 Which is not a way in which energy is lost between a producer and a primary

A as chemical energy in the faeces of the primary consumer

B as chemical energy in roots that are not eaten by the primary consumer
C as heat from respiration in the cells of the primary consumer
D as heat from respiration in the cells of the producer

3 Draw a flow diagram to show how an atom of nitrogen in a

nitrogen molecule in the air could become part of a protein molecule in a
muscle in a person's arm.

Your diagram should:

• name the molecules or ions in which the nitrogen atom is present, at

each stage
• name the processes involved in the conversion of one substance to
another, or in the passing of a substance from one organism to another

You will need to use knowledge of the nitrogen cycle in your answer. You
may also use knowledge of digestion,
absorption, transport in mammals and protein synthesis in cells.

4 a Explain what is meant by the term community.

b The figure shows the How of energy through a woodland. All figures are
in kJ m−2 per week. [2]

i Calculate the energy trapped by the producers and converted to biomass, as a

percentage of the light energy absorbed. Express your answer to the nearest 0.1 %.
Show your working. [2]
ii Suggest, in terms of energy How, why there are no tertiary consumers in the
woodland. [2]
iii Leaf litter is composed of dead leaves and twigs.
The total energy in the leaf litter was 15 899 kJm−2 but only 153 kJm−2 per week was
transferred to decomposers. When animal wastes rich in nitrogen were mixed
with the leaf litter the energy flow to decomposers increased significantly.

Suggest why the addition of

animal wastes rich in nitrogen increased the energy How to decomposers. [3]
[Total: 9]

[Cambridge International AS and A Level Biology 9700 Paper 22, Question 6,

November 2009]

5 Many species of legume grow in nitrate-deficient Soils in the tropics. Some of

these are large trees such as the flamboyant tree, Delonix regia.

Bacteria of the genus Rhizobium live inside swellings along the roots of
legumes. These swellings are known as root nodules.

A student followed the cycling of nitrogen in an area with many flamboyant trees.

The figure summarises the flow of nitrogen in the area.


a Name the processes that occur at H, J and K. [3]

b Suggest the advantages gained by legumes of having Rhizobium
living in their roots. [2] [Total: 5]
[Cambridge International AS and A Level Biology 9700 Paper 21, Question 6,
June 2010 ]

3. End-of-chapter answers

Cambridge International Examinations bears no responsibility for the example answers to

questions taken from its past question papers which are contained in this publication.



3 The answer could include the following points, shown in the form of a flow diagram:
• nitrogen fixation – conversion of N2 to a named compound or compound ion by a named
process (e.g. to NH4 + by Rhizobium in root nodules)
• uptake (e.g. of nitrate, NO3 - ) or assimilation of NH4 + by a plant to produce amino acids
• production of proteins in the plant on ribosomes
• eating of plant by a person (or by another animal that will eventually provide food for a
• digestion of protein in the alimentary canal by protease enzymes, followed by absorption
through the walls of the small intestine as amino acids
• transport of amino acids in solution in blood plasma
• uptake of amino acids from blood by muscle cells (reference to diff usion through capillary
wall, tissue fluid)
• protein synthesis on ribosomes in muscle cell, involving mRNA and tRNA

4 a all the organisms of all species; living in the same place at the same time; [2]
b i 2946 ÷ 65 000 × 100; = 4.5%; [2]
ii not enough energy reaching them; only 2 kJ m−2 per week; [2]
iii (leaf litter is) difficult to break down; reference to cellulose/lignin;
(leaf litter contains) little protein/nitrogen;
lack of nitrogen is a limiting factor for decomposer activity;
animal wastes contain urea/amino acids/ organic nitrogen sources;
provide materials for decomposers/increase rate of decomposer activity; [max. 3]

[Total: 9]

5 a H = nitrogen fi xation;
J = nitrifi cation/oxidation;

K = denitrifi cation/reduction; [3]

b provide ammonium ions;

for use in making amino acids/proteins;
allow plant to grow in soil that is low in nitrate ions; [max. 2]

[Total: 5]


# 54. AS Experimental skills and investigations

Almost one quarter of the total marks for your AS examination are for
experimental skills and investigations. These are assessed on Paper 3,
which is a practical examination.

There is a total of 40 marks available on this Paper. Although the questions

are different on each paper 3, the number of marks assigned to each skill is
always the same. This is shown in the table below.

The syllabus explains each of these skills in detail, and it is important that you read the
appropriate pages in the syllabus so that you know what each skill is, and what you will be
tested on.

The next few pages explain what you can do to make sure you get as many marks as
possible for each of these skills. They give you guidance in how you can build up your skills
as you do practical work during your course, and also how to do well in the examination
itself. They are not arranged In the same order as in the syllabus, or in the table above.
Instead, they have been arranged by the kind of task you will be asked to do, either in
practical work during your biology course or in the examination.

There is a great deal of information for you to take in, and skills for you to develop. The only
way to do this really successfully is to do lots of practical work, and gradually build up your
skills bit by bit. Don't worry if you don't get everything right first time. Just take note of what
you can do to improve next time - you will steadily get better and better.

The examination questions

There are usually two questions on Paper 3. The examiners will take care to set questions
that are not exactly the same as any you have done before. It is possible that there could
be three shorter questions instead of two longer ones, so do not be surprised if that

It is very important that you do exactly what the question asks you to do. Candidates often
lose marks by doing something they have already practised, rather than doing what the
question actually requires.

Question I

This is likely to be what is sometimes called a 'wet practical'. For example, it could be:
• an investigation into the activity of an enzyme
• an osmosis experiment
• tests for biological molecules

This question will often ask you to investigate the effect of one factor on another for
example, the effect of enzyme concentration on rate of reaction, or the effect of leaf area on
the rate of transpiration.

Question 2

This question is likely to involve making drawings from a specimen. This could be a real
specimen, or it could be a photograph. You may be asked to use a microscope, a stage
micrometer and eyepiece graticule, or images of them, to work out the magnification or size
of the specimen.

The two questions are designed to take up approximately equal amounts of your time. You
should therefore aim to spend about 1 hour on each question.


During your course:

• Every time you do a practical during your AS course, time yourself. Are you making
quickly enough? You will probably find that you are very slow to begin with, but as the
course progresses try to work a little faster as your confidence improves.

ln the exam:
• Do exactly what the question asks you to do. This is unlikely to be exactly the same as
anything you have done before.
• leave yourself enough time to do each question, spending an appropriate number of
minutes on each one.

#55 How to get high marks in Paper 3 – Variables

Many of the experiments that you will do during your AS

course, and usually Question 1 in the examination paper, will
investigate the effect of one factor on another. These factors
are called variables.

Types of variables

The factor that you change or select is called the independent variable. The factor that is
affected (and that you measure when you collect your results) is the dependent variable.
The table shows some examples.

Table 1
If you are investigating the effect of one variable on another, then you need to be sure that
there are no other variables that might be affecting the results. It is important to identify
these and - if possible - keep them constant. These are sometimes called control

Making decisions about the independent variable

You may have to make your own decisions about the range and interval of the independent
Let's think about investigation 1 in the table above - investigating the effect of
temperature on the rate of breakdown of hydrogen peroxide by catalase.

The independent variable is the temperature. First, decide on the range of temperatures
you will use. The range is the spread between the highest and lowest value. This will be
affected by:

• the apparatus you have available to you, which will determine the possible range of
temperatures you can produce. In this case, you will probably be using a water bath. If you
are lucky, you may have a thermostatically controlled water bath, but in the exam you will
probably have to use a beaker of water whose temperature you can control by adding ice or
by heating it.

• your knowledge about the range of temperature over which the rate of activity of the
enzyme is likely to be affected. Even if you could manage it, there wouldn't be much point in
trying temperatures as low as - 500C or as high as 2000C. However, you probably know that
various enzymes can have optimum temperatures anywhere between 20 0C and 800C, so
you should include these values in the range.

Next, decide on the intervals that you will use. The interval is the distance between the
values that you choose. This will be affected by:

• the number of different values you can fit in within your chosen range, and how much time
you have available to you. For example, you might ideally like to use intervals of 5 0C, so
that you set up water baths at 00C, 50C and so on, all the way up to 800C. But obviously
that would not be sensible if you only have five water baths, or if you only have 1 hour to do
the experiment.

• the number of results you need to obtain. You are going to be looking for any pattern in
the relationship between the independent variable (temperature) and the dependent
variable (rate of reaction). You will need at least 5 readings to see any pattern. There is
really no point trying to draw a graph if there will be fewer than 5 points on it. So, if your
range of temperatures is 00C to 800C, you could use intervals of 200C. This would give you
5 readings - 0,20,40, 60 and 800C.

Producing different concentrations of a solution

In investigation 2, investigating the effect of immersion in solutions of different

sucrose concentration on the change in mass of potato strips, the independent
variable is the concentration of a solution. You may be given a sucrose solution of a
particular concentration, and then be asked to produce a suitable range of concentrations to
carry out the experiment.

The range you should use will usually be from 0 (distilled water) up to the concentration of
the solution you have been given (because obviously you can't easily make that into a more
concentrated solution).

The intervals you use could be either:

• all the same distance apart, for example concentrations of 0.8, 0.6, 0.4 and 0.2 moldm-
(and, of course, 0.0 moldm-3)
• produced by using serial dilutions to make concentrations of 0.1, 0.01 and 0.001 moldm-
(and, of course, 0.0 moldm-3)

Continuous and discontinuous variables

In investigation 1, the independent variable (temperature) is continuous. This means that

we can choose any value within the range we have decided to use. This is also true for
investigation 2, where we can choose any value of concentration within the range we have
decided to use.

Sometimes, however, the independent variable is discontinuous. This means that there is
only a limited number of possible values. For example, in investigation 3, testing the
hypothesis: the density of stomata on the lower surface of a leaf is greater than the density
on the upper surface, the independent variable has only two possible 'values' - either the
upper surface of the leaf, or the lower
surface of the leaf. So you don't have any choice about the range or intervals at all!


During your course:

• Every time you do an experiment, identify and write down the independent variable and
the dependent variable.
• Every time you do an experiment, think about the range and the intervals of the values
you are using for the independent variable. For your own benefit, write down what the range
is and what the intervals are, just to help you to think about them.
• learn how to make up dilutions from a solution of a given concentration, and practise doing
this until you feel really confident about it.

In the exam:

• Read the question carefully, then identify the independent variable and the dependent
variable (even if the question does not ask you to do this].
• Next, decide if the independent variable is continuous or discontinuous (see above).
• If it is continuous, read the question carefully to see if you have been told the range and
intervals to use, or if you are being asked to decide these for yourself.

Controlling the control variables

In your experiment, it is important to try to make sure that the only variable that could be
affecting the dependent variable is the independent variable that you are investigating. If
you think there are any other variables that might affect it, then you must try to keep these

Look back at the Table 1 at the beginning of the post.

In investigation 1, the important control variables would be the concentration and volume of
the enzyme solution and the concentration and volume of the hydrogen peroxide solution.
Changes in any of these would have a direct effect on the rate of reaction.

In investigation 2, the important control variables would be the dimensions of the potato
strips and the potato tuber from which they came. You also need to think about time, but
here the important thing is that the strips are left in the solution for long enough for
equilibrium to be reached - after that, it doesn't really matter if one is left for slightly longer
than another. You also need to be sure that all the strips are completely immersed in the
solution, although the actual volume of the solution
doesn't matter. Temperature, too, won't affect the final result, but it could affect the speed at
which equilibrium is reached - if you leave the strips for long enough, then it does not really
matter If the temperature varies.

In biology, we often want to do experiments where it is not possible to control all the
variables. For example, we might want to investigate the effect of body mass index on heart
rate when at rest. There are all sorts of other variables that might affect resting heart rate,
such as gender, age, fitness, when a person last ate and so on. In this case, we just have
to do the best we can, for example, by limiting our survey to males between the ages of 20
and 25. If we can collect results from a large random sample
among this group of males, then we can hope that at least we will be able to see if there
appearsto be a relationship between our independent and dependent variables.


During your course:

• Every time you do an experiment, think about which variables you have been told to
control, or make your own decision about which ones are important to control. Get to know
the standard ways of controlling variables such as temperature (use water baths), pH (use
buffer solutions) and other variables.

In the exam:

• If you are not told what variables to control, then think about these carefully before
deciding what you will control and how you will do it.

When to measure the dependent variable

In many experiments you will need to decide when, and how often, you should take a
reading, observation or measurement of the dependent variable.

• With some investigations, you will need to leave things long enough for whatever is
happening to finish happening. This would be important in investigation 2, where you would
need to leave the potato strips in the sucrose solutions for long enough for equilibrium to be
• With some investigations, you may need to begin taking readings straight away. This
would be important in investigation 1, where you should begin measuring the volume of
oxygen released each minute from time 0, which is the moment that the enzyme and its
substrate are mixed.
• With some investigations, you may need to allow time for a process to settle down to a
steady rate before you begin to take readings. This would be important in investigation 4,
where you would be measuring the rate of transpiration in a particular set of conditions.


During your course:

• Every time you do an experiment where time is involved, think about why you should start
timing from a particular moment, and when and why you should take readings.

In the exam:

• Think carefully about whether or not time is important. If you think it is, then decide when
you will start taking readings, and how often you will take them. Remember that if you are
going to use them to draw a graph, you will need at least 5 points to plot.

#56 Practical exam - Taking measurements

You will often be asked to take measurements or readings. In

biology, these are most likely to be length, mass, time,
temperature or volume.

You could be taking readings from a linear scale (for

example, reading temperature on a thermometer, reading
volume on a pipette, or reading length on a potometer tube).
You could be reading values on a digital display, for example
reading mass on a top pan balance or time
on a digital timer.

There are some special terms that are used to describe measurements, and the amount of
trust you can put into them. It's easiest if we think about them in terms of a particular
experiment, so let's concentrate on investigation 1: Investigating the effect of
temperature on the rate of breakdown of hydrogen peroxide by catalase. Look back
at the the post #69 to remind yourself what is being measured.

Validity This is about whether what you are measuring

is what you actually intend to measure. For example, in
investigation 1, does measuring the volume of oxygen
in the gas syringe each minute really tell you about the
rate of reaction? It is a valid method in this instance,
because the volume of oxygen given off per unit time is
directly related to the rate at which the reaction is
taking place.

Reliability This is how well you can trust your

measurements. Reliable results are ones that are
repeatable. This could be affected by various factors,
such as whether you are able to take a reading at the
precise time you intended to.

Accuracy An accurate reading is a true reading. For your readings of volume to be

accurate, then the gas syringe must have been calibrated correctly, so that when it says the
volume of gas is 8.8cm3, then there really is exactly 8.8 cm3 of gas in there.

Precision If you were able to put exactly 8.8 cm3 of gas into your gas syringe, and it
read 8.8 cm3 every time, then your readings have a high degree of precision. If, however,
the syringe didn't always read the same value (so there was variation in its readings, even
though the actual volume of gas was exactly the same), then your measurements are less

Resolution You probably already know this term, because we use it in microscopy to tell us
the degree of detail that we can see. The smaller the detail, the higher the resolution. It
means very much the same thing with a measuring instrument - the smaller the division on
the scale of the measuring instrument, the higher its resolution. So, for example, a 10
cm3 gas syringe marked off every 0.5 cm3 has a higher resolution than a 20 cm3 gas syringe
marked off every 1 cm3. If you get a choice, then go for the instrument with the highest
resolution to make your measurements - so long as it can cover the range that you need.

Uncertainty in measurements- estimating errors

Whenever you take a reading or make a measurement, there will be some uncertainty that
the value is absolutely correct. These uncertainties are experimental errors. Every
experiment, no matter how well it has been designed, no matter how carefully it has been
carried out and no matter how precise and accurate the measuring instruments, has this
type of error.

You may be asked to estimate the size of the errors in your measurements. This is nothing
to do with how well you have made the measurements - the examiners don't want to know
about 'mistakes' that you might have made, such as misreading a scale or taking a reading
at the wrong time. It is all about the inbullt limitations in your measuring device and its

• In general, the size of the error is half the value of the smallest division on the scale.
For example, if you have a thermometer that is marked off in values of 10C, then every
reading that you take could be out by 0,50C. You can show this by writing: 21.50C ± 0.50C.
• If your recorded result involves measuring two values - for example, if you have measured
a starting temperature and then another temperature at the end, and have calculated the
rise in temperature - then this error could have occurred for both readings. The total error
is therefore the sum of the errors for each reading. Your final value for the change of
temperature you have measured would then be written: 18 0C ± 10C.


Every time you take a reading or make a measurement, get into the habit of working out
and writing down the error (uncertainty) in each reading.

#57 Recording measurements and other data

You will often need to construct a table in which to record your

measurements, readings and other observations. It is always best to
design and construct your results table before you begin your
experiment, so that you can write your readings directly into it as you
take them.

Let's think about investigation 2 again (investigating the effect of

immersion in solutions of different sucrose concentration on the change
in mass of potato strips). You've made your decisions about the range and intervals of the
independent variable (concentration of solution) - you've decided to use six concentrations
ranging from 0.0 moldm-3 to 1.0 moldm-3. Your dependent variable is the change in length
of the potato strips, and you are going to find this by measuring the initial length and final
length of each strip.

These are the things you need to think about when design ing your results table:

• The independent variable should be in the first column.

• The readings you take are in the next columns.
• Sometimes, these readings actually are your dependent variable, in this experiment,
however, you are going to have to use these readings to calculate your dependent variable,
which is the change in length of the strips, so you need to have another column for this.
This comes at the end of the table. In fact, you really need to work out
the percentage change in length of the strips, as this will allow for the inevitable variability in
the initial lengths of the strips.

The table could look like this:


• The table has been clearly drawn, with lines separating all the different rows and columns.
Allways use a pencil and ruler to draw a results table.
• Each column is fully headed, including the unit in which that quantity is going to be
measured. The unit is preceded by a slash /. You can use brackets instead - concentration
of sucrose solution (moldm-3).
• The slash always means the same thing. It would be completely wrong to write:
concentration of sucrose solution/mnol/dm-3 as the heading of the first column. That would
be really confusing. If you are not happy using negative indices like dm -3, you can always

write 'per' instead. So it would be fine to write: concentration of sucrose solution/mol per
• The columns are all in a sensible order. The first one is the independent variable, so you
can write these values in straight away, as you have already decided what they will be. The
next thing you will measure is the initial length of the strip, then the final length. Then you
will calculate the change in length, and finally you will calculate the percentage change in

So now you are ready to do your experiment and collect your results. Here is what your
table might look like.


• All the measurements in the second two columns were made to the nearest 0.5 mm. This
is because the smallest graduation on the scale on the ruler was 1 mm. So it was possible
to estimate the length to the nearest 0.5mm. (Have a look at the scale on your ruler, and
you will see that this is sensible.) Even if you decide that a length is exactly 50mm, you
must write in the next decimal place for consistency, so you would write 50.0.
• The values in the 'change in length' column each show whether they were an increase or
a decrease.
• The percentage change in length is calculated like this:

(Do make sure you remember to take a calculator into the exam with you.)
• Each percentage change in length has been rounded up to one decimal place, for
consistency with the change in length. For example, the calculation in the first row gives
6.0606, which you should round up to 6.1. The calculation in the sixth row gives 4.0404,
which rounds up to 4.0.


It is a good idea to do repeats. This means that, instead of getting just one reading for each
value of your independent variable, you collect two or three. You can then calculate a mean
value, which is more likely to be a 'true' value than any of the individual ones.

Let's say that you did this for the potato strip experiment. You could have used two potato
strips for each sucrose concentration, then calculated the percentage change in length for
each one, then finally calculated a mean percentage change.

This means adding some extra rows and an extra column to the results table, like this:

• All of this information has been put in a single results table. This makes it much easier for
someone to read and find all the information they need.
• The numbers in the final column have again been rounded up to one decimal place.

Qualitative observations

The results table for the potato strip experiment contains numerical values - they
are quantitative. Sometimes, though, you may want to write descriptions in your results
table, for example a colour that you observed. These are qualitative observations. If you
are recording colours, write down the actual colour - do not just write 'no change'.

Use simple language that everyone can easily understand. Avoid using terms that are
difficult for the examiner to interpret, such as 'yellowish-green'. Think about what is
important - perhaps it is that this tube is a darker or lighter green than that tube. Using
simple language such as 'dark green' or 'a lighter green than tube 1' is fine.

# 58 Graphs and other ways of displaying data

When you have collected your data and completed your results
table, you will generally want to display the data so that anyone
looking at them can see any patterns.

1. Line graphs

Line graphs are used when both the independent variable and the dependent variable are
continuous. This is the case for the potato strip data on the table below.

The graph can help you to decide if there is a relationship between the independent
variable and the dependent variable. This is what a line graph of these data might look like.

• The independent variable goes on the x-axis, and the dependent variable goes on the y-
• Each axis is fully labelled with units. You can just copy the headings from the appropriate
columns of your results table.
• The scales on each axis should start at or just below your lowest reading, and go up to or
just above your highest reading. Think carefully about whether you need to begin at 0 on
either of the axes, or if there is no real reason to do this.
• The scales use as much of the width and height of the graph paper as possible. If you are
given a graph grid on the exam paper, the examiners will have worked out a sensible size
for it, so you should find your scales will fit comfortably. The greater the width and height
you use, the easier it is to see any patterns in your data once you have plotted them.
• The scale on each axis goes up in regular steps. Choose something sensible, such as 1s,
2s, 5s or 10s. If you choose anything else, such as 3s, it is practically impossible to read off
any intermediate values. Imagine trying to decide where 7.1 is on a scale going up in 3s...
• Eachpoint is plotted very carefully with a neat cross. Don't usejust a dot, as this may not
be visible once you've drawn the line. You could, though, use a dot with a circle round it.
• A smooth best-fit line has been drawn. This is what biologists do when they have good
reason to believe there is a smooth relationship between the independent and dependent
variables. You know that your individual points may be a bit off this line (and the fact that
the two repeats for each concentration were not always the same strongly supports this
view), so you can actually have more faith in there being a smooth relationship than you do
in your plots for each point.

Sometimes in biology (it doesn't often happen in physics or chemistry!) you might have
more trust in your individual points than in any possible smooth relationship between them.
If that is the case, then you do not draw a best-fit curve. Instead, join the points with a very
carefully drawn straight line, like this:

During your course:
• Get plenty of practice in drawing graphs,so that it becomes second nature always to
choose the correct axes. To label them fully and to choose appropriate scales.

In the exam:

• Take time to draw your graph axes and scales - you may need to try out two or even three
different scales before finding the best one.
• Take time to plot the points - and then go back and check them.
• Use a sharp HB pencil to draw the line, taking great care to touch the centre of each cross
if you are joining points with straight lines. If you go wrong, rub the line out completely
before starting again.
• If you need to draw two lines on your graph, make sure you label each one clearly.

You may be asked to read off an intermediate value from the graph you have drawn. It is
always a good idea to use a ruler to do this - place it vertically to read a value on the x-axis,
and horizontally to do the same on the y-axis. You can draw in faint vertical and horizontal
pencil lines along the ruler. This will help you to read the value accurately.

You could also be asked to work out the gradient of a line on a graph. This is explained
on The post #20.

During your course:

• Make sure you know how to read off an intermediate value from a graph accurately, and
how to calculate a gradient.

In the exam:

• Take time over finding intermediate values on a graph - If you rush it is very easy to read
off a value that is not quite correct.

2. Histograms

A histogram is a graph where there is a

continuous variable on the x-axis, and a
frequency on the y-axis. For example, you might
have measured the length of 20 leaves taken
from a tree. You could plot the data like this:


• The numbers on the x-ails scale are written on

the lines. The first bar therefore includes all the
leaves with a length between 30 and 39 mm.
The next bar includes all the leaves with a
length between 40 and 49 mm, and so on.
• The bars are all the same width.
• The bars are all touching - this is important, because the x-axis scale is continuous,
without any gaps in it.

3. Bar charts

A bar chart is a graph where the independent variable is made up of a number of

different, discrete categories and the dependent variable is continuous. For example, the
independent variable could be type of fruit juice, and the dependent variable could be the
concentration of glucose in the juice.

• The x-axis has an overall heading (type of fruit), and then each bar also has its own
heading (orange, apple and so on on).
• The y-axis has a normal scale just as you would use on a line graph.
• The bars are all the same width.
• The bars do not touch.

# 59 Drawing conclusions and interpreting data

Once you have collected, tabulated and displayed your

results, you can use them to draw a conclusion. When
you are thinking about a conclusion, look right back to
the start of your experiment where you were told (or you
decided) what you were to investigate.

For example:

• In investigation 1, investigating the effect of temperature on the rate of breakdown of

hydrogen peroxide by catalase, your conclusion should provide an answer to this question.
• in investigation 2, investigating the effect of immersion in solutions of different sucrose
concentration on the change in length of potato strips, your conclusion should state the
relationship between the concentration of sucrose solution and the change in length of the
potato strips.
• in investigation 4, testing the hypothesis: the density of stomata on the lower surface of a
leaf is greater than the density on the upper surface, your conclusion should say whether
your results support or disprove this hypothesis.

Explaining your reasoning

There will often be marks for explaining how you have reached your conclusion. Your
reasoning should refer clearly to your results. For example, your conclusion to investigation
2 (whose results are shown in the table below) might be:

A sucrose solution with a concentrations of 0.6 moldm-3 and below caused an increase in
length of the potato strips. A sucrose solution with a concentration of 0.8 moldm-3 and
above caused a decrease in length of the potato strips. From the graph, the solution that I
would expect to cause no change in length of the strips would be 0.62 moldm-3.

The strips gained in length because they took up water, which was because the water
potential of the sucrose solution was greater than the water potential in the potato cells.
This therefore means that the water potential inside the potato cells was the same as the
water potential of a 0.62 moldm-3 sucrose solution.

Showing your working, and significant figures

You may be asked to carry out a calculation and to show your working. There will be marks
for doing this. If you do not show your working clearly, then you wiil not get full marks, even
if your answer is absolutely correct.

For example, imagine you have measured four lengths as 46mm, 53mm, 52mm and 48mm.
You are asked to calculate the mean and to show your working. You should write this down
properly as:

You've already seen, on the post #70, that the final answer to a calculation should have the
same number of significant figures as the original numbers you were working from. If you
do the calculation above, you'll find the answer you get is 49.75. But the original
measurements were only to two significant figures (a whole number of mm) so that is how
you should give the final answer to your calculation. You must round the answer up or down
to give the same number of significant figures as the original values from which you are

There's another example of showing your working on this post. (page 119)

#60 Identifying sources of error

It is very important to understand the difference between
experimental errors and 'mistakes'. A mistake is something that
you do incorrectly, such as misreading the scale on a
thermometer, or taking a reading at the wrong time, or not
emptying a graduated pipette fully. Do not refer to these types of
mistake when you are asked to comment on experimental errors.

You've already seen, on post # 70 , that every measuring

instrument has its own built-in degree of uncertainty in the values
you read from it. You may remember that, in general, the size of
the error is half the value of the smallest division on the scale.

Errors can also occur if there were uncontrolled variables affecting your results. For
example, if you were doing an investigation into the effect of leaf area on the rate of
transpiration, and the temperature in the laboratory increased while you were doing your
experiment, then you can't be sure that all the differences in rate of transpiration were
entirely due to differences in leaf area.

Systematic and random errors

Systematic errors are ones that are the same throughout your investigation, such as
intrinsic errors in the measuring instruments you were using.

Random errors are ones that can differ throughout your investigation. For example, you
might be doing an osmosis investigation using potato strips taken from different parts of a
potato, where perhaps the cells in some parts had a higher water potential than in others.
Or perhaps the temperature in the room was fluctuating up and down.

Spotting the important sources of error

You should be able to distinguish between significant errors and insignificant ones. For
example, a change in room temperature could have a significant effect on the rate of
transpiration (Investigation 4) but it would not have any effect at all on the number of
stomata on the upper and lower surface of a leaf (investigation 3).

Another thing to consider is how well a variable has been controlled. If you were doing an
enzyme investigation using a water bath to control temperature, then you should try to be
realistic in estimating how much the temperature might have varied by. If you were using a
high-quality, electronically controlled water bath, then it probably did not vary much, but if
you were using a beaker and Bunsen burner then it is likely that temperature variations
could indeed be significant.

During your course:

• Every time you do an investigation, work out and write down the uncertainty in all the
types of measurement that you make.
• Every time you do an investigation, think carefully about any errors that may be die to lack
of control of variables - which ones might genuinely be significant!

Inthe exam:

• If you are asked about an investigation that seems familiar. It is tempting just to try to
recall what the main errors were in the investigation that you did before. This is not a good
idea, because the investigation in the exam may not be quite the same. Always think about
the actual investigation in the examination question, and think through what the significant
sources of error are.

Suggesting improvements

You may be asked to suggest how the investigation you have just done, or an investigation
that has been described, could be improved. Your improvements should be aimed at
getting more valid or reliable results to the question that the investigation was trying to
answer - do not suggest improvements that would mean you would now be trying to answer
a different question. For example, if you were doing an investigation to investigate the effect
of leaf area on the rate of transpiration, don't suggest doing something to find out the effect
of the wind speed on the rate of transpiration.

The improvements you suggest could include controlling certain variables that were not
controlled, or controlling them more effectively. For example, you may suggest that the
investigation could be improved by controlling temperature. To earn a mark, you must also
say how you would control it, for example by placing sets of test-tubes in a thermostatically
controlled water bath.

You could also suggest using better methods of measurement. For example, you might
suggest using a colorimeter to measure depth of colour, rather than using your eyes and a
colour scale.

It is almost always a good idea to do several repeats in your investigation and then
calculate a mean of your results. For example, if you are measuring the effect of light
intensity on the rate of transpiration, then you could take three sets of readings for the
volume of water taken up by your leafy shoot in one minute at a particular light intensity.
The mean of these results is more likely to give you the true value of the rate of
transpiration than anyone individual result.

During your course:

• If time allows, try to do at least two (and possibly three) repeats when you do an
• As you do an investigation, be thinking all the time about how reliable or accurate your
measurements and readings are. Think about what you would like to be able to do to
improve their reliability or accuracy.

In the exam:
• Be very precise in suggesting how you could improve the investigation - for example, don't
just say you would control a particular variable, but say how you would control it.
#61 Drawings

One of the questions in the exam is likely to involve

drawing a specimen on a slide, using a microscope, or
drawing from a photomicrograph (a photograph taking
through a microscope).

Making decisions about what to draw

You might have to decide which part of a micrograph to

draw. For example, there might be a micrograph of a leaf
epidermis, and you are asked to draw two guard cells and
four epidermal cells. It is really important that you do
exactly as you are asked and choose an appropriate part of the micrograph.

Producing a good drawing

It is very important that you draw what you can see, not what you think you ought to see.
Forexample, during your AS course you may have drawn a TS of a stem where the
vascular bundles were arranged in a particular way, or were a particular shape. In the
exam, you could be asked to draw a completely different type of vascular bundle that you
have never seen before. Look very carefully and draw what you can see.

Your drawing should:

• be large and drawn using a sharp pencil (preferably HB, which can be easily erased if
necessary) with no shading, using single, clear lines;
• show the structure or structures in the correct proportions. The examiners will check that
the overall shape and proportions of your drawing match those of the specimen. Don't worry
- you don't need to be a wonderful artist - a simple, clear drawing is all that is required;
• show only the outlines of tissues if you are asked to draw a low power plan (LPP). A LPP
should not show any individual cells.


#63 Questions and answers

In this section is a practice examination paper, similar to the

Cambridge International AS Level Biology paper 2. All of the
questions are based on the topic areas described in the previous

Youhave 1 hour and 15minutes to do the paper. There are 60

marks on the paper, so you can spend just over one minute per
mark. If you find you are spending too long on one question, then
move on to another that you can answer more quickly. If you
have time at the end, then come back to the difficult one.

Some of the questions require you to recall information that you have learned. Be guided by
the number of marks awarded to suggest how much detail you should give in your answer.
The more marks there are, the more information you need to give.

Some of the questions require you to use your knowledge and understanding in new
situations. Don't be surprised to find something completely new in a question - something
you have not seen before. Just think carefully about it, and find something that you do know
that will help you to answer it.

Do think carefully before you begin to write. The best answers are short and relevant - if
you target your answer well, you can get a lot of marks for a very small amount of writing.
Don't say the same thing several times over, or wander off into answers that have nothing
to do with the question. As a general rule, there will be twice as many answer lines as
marks. So you should try to answer a 3 mark question in no more than 6 lines of writing. If
you are writing much more than that, you almost
certainly haven't focused your answer tightly enough.

Look carefully at exactiy what each question wants you to do. For example, if it asks you to
'Explain', then you need to say how or why something happens, not just describe what
happens. Many students lose large numbers of marks by not reading the question carefully.

Following each question in the practice paper overleaf, there is an answer that might get a
C or D grade, followed by an examiner's comments. Then there is an answer that might get
an A or B grade, again followed by an examiner's comments. You might like to try
answering the questions yourself first, before looking at these.

Notice that there are sometimes more ticks on the students' answers than the number of
marks awarded. This could be because you need two correct responses for one mark
(e.g.QI (a) (I))or because there are more potential mark points than the total number of
marks available (e.g. QI (a) (U)). Even if you get four or five ticks for a three-mark question,
you can't get more than the maximum three marks.

#64 Question 1
(a) The diagram shows a small part of a cell, as seen using an electron

(i) Name the parts labelled A to D. (2 marks)

(ii) Describe how part B is involved in the formation of extracellular enzymes.
(3 marks)

(b) Give two reasons, other than the presence of part B, why the cell in the
diagram cannot be a prokaryotic cell. (2 marks)
Total: 7 marks

Candidate A

(a) (i) A plasma membrane 

B Golggi 
C nucleus 
D phagocyte 

* C is the nuclear envelope (or membrane), not the nucleus itself. A phagocyte is a
cell - perhaps the candidate is thinking of a phagocytic vesicle. 1/2

(ii) First, the enzymes are made by protein synthesis on the ribosomes. Then
they go into the endoplasmic reticulum. Then they are taken to the Golgi where
they are packaged. Then they go in vesicles to the cell membrane where they are
sent out byexocytosis.

* This candidate has not really thought about exactly what the question was
asking, and has wasted time writing about events that take place before and after
the involvement of the Golgi apparatus. There is, however, a mark for the idea that
the Golgi apparatus receives proteins that have been in the RER, and another for
packaging them into vesicles. 2/3

(b) It has a nucleus.  And it has Golgi apparatus. 

* The Goigi apparatus is part B, and tilis has been excluded by the question. 1/2

Candidate B

(a) (i) A cell surface membrane 

B Golgi apparatus 
C nuclear envelope 
D vesicle 

* All correct. 2/2

(ii) Proteins made in the RER are transported to the convex face  of the Golgi
apparatus in vesicles. The vesicles fuse  with the Golgi and the proteins inside are
modified  by adding sugars to make glycoproteins . They are packaged inside
membranes  and sent to the cell membrane.

* All correct. 3/3

(b) If it was a prokaryotic celi it wouldn't have a nucleus  and it would have a cell
wall. 

* Correct. 2/2 .

#65 Question 2
The diagram shows the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which causes
tuberculosis (TB).

(a) M. tuberculosis is taken up by macrophages and multiplies inside them.

Suggest how this strategy could help to protect M. tuberculosis from the immune
response by B cells. (3 marks)
(b) In an experiment to investigate how M tuberculosis avoids destruction by
macrophages, bacteria were added to a culture of macrophages obtained from the
alveoli of mice. At the same time, a quantity of small glass beads, equivalent in
size to the bacteria, were added to the culture. The experiment was repeated using
increasing quantities of bacteria and glass beads.

After 4 hours, the macrophages were sampled to find out how many had taken up
either glass beads or bacteria. The results are shown in the graph. The x-axis
shows the initial ratio of bacteria or glass beads to macrophages in the mixture.

Discuss what these results suggest about the ability of macrophages to take up M.
(3 marks)

(c) When M tuberculosis is present inside a phagosome of a macrophage, it

secretes glycolipids that accumulate in lysosomes and prevent the lysosomes fusing
with the phagosome.

Explain how this prevents the macrophage from destroying the

bacterium. (3 marks)
Total: 9 marks

Candidate A

(a) It stops the B cells seeing them, so they don't make antibodies  against

* This is not a very clear answer. B cells do not 'see', so this is not a good term to
use. The 'they' in the second half of the sentence could refer to either B cells or the
bacteria. 1/3

(b) The macrophages took up more glass beads than bacteria . So they are not
very good at taking up the bacteria .

* Just enough for two marks, although the second sentence is weak. 2/3

(c) tysosornes contain digestive enzymes,  so if they don't fuse with the
phagosome the bacteria won't get digested. 

* Once again, the candidate has the right ideas, but does not give enough
biological detail to get full marks. 2/3

Candidate B

(a) B cells only become active when they meet the specific antigen  to which
they are able to respond. If the bacteria are inside a macrophage. then the B cell's
receptors won't meet the antigen  on the bacteria. This means that the B cells will
not divide to produce plasma cells , and will not secrete antibodies against the

* A good answer. 3/3

(b) The cells only started to take up any bacteria when the particle.macrophage
ratio was 1  On the other hand, they took up glass beads even when the ratio
was above 0.01. When the ratio of particles to macrophages was 10, only about
30% of the macrophages had taken up bacteria, whereas over 75% of them had
taken up glass beads.  This shows the macrophages do take up the bacteria, but
not as well as they take up glass beads. 

* A good answer, which does attempt to 'discuss' by providing statements relating
to the relatively low ability of the macro phages to take up the bacteria, but also
stating that they do take them up. In general, it is always a good idea to quote
data where they are relevant in your answer. 3/3

(c) Normally, lysosomes fuse with phagosomes and release hydrolytic

enzymes into them. These enzymes then hydrolyse (digest) whatever is in the
phagosome.  If this doesn't happen, then the bacteria can live inside the
phagesome without being digested.

* All correct. 3/3


#66. Question 3

(a) The diagrams show a cell in various stages

ofthe mitotic cell cycle.

Name the stage represented by each diagram,

and arrange them in the correct sequence.

(b) Describe the role of spindle microtubules in

mitosis. (3 marks)

(c) The graph below shows the changes in the

mass of DNA per cell and total cell mass during two cell cycles. Different vertical
scales are used for the two lines.

(i) On the graph, write the letter D to indicate a time at which DNA replication is
taking place. (1 mark)
(ii) On the graph, write the letter C to indicate a time at which cytokinesis is taking
place.(1 mark)
(d) Describe the roles of mitosis In living organisms.(3 marks)
Total: 11 marks
Candidate A

(a) A metaphase,  B prophase, C telophase,  D anaphase 

* The candidate has named each stage correctly, but has not arranged them in the
correct order. 2/3

(b) The spindle microtubules pull the chromatids to opposite ends of the cell. 
* This is correct, but there is not enough here for three marks. 1/3


* Cytokinesis is identified correctly, but DNA replication is not. The candidate has
written D before the DNA has replicated. 1/2

(d) Mitosis is used in growth and repair .

* This is correct, but not a good enough answer for more than one mark at
AS. 1/3

Candidate B

(a) B prophase A metaphase  D anaphase  C telophase 

* All identified correctly, and in the right order. 3/3

(b) Spindle microtubules are made by the centrioles. They latch on to the
centromeres of the chromosomes and help them line up on the equator . Then
they pull  on the centromeres so they come apart and they pull the
chromatids  to opposite ends of the cell in anaphase.
* A good answer. 3/3


* Both correct. 2/2

(d) Mitosis produces two daughter cells that are genetically identical  to the
parent cell. Mitosis is used for growth, or for repairing cells.  It is also used in
asexual reproduction . 

* The point about producing genetically Identical cells is a good one, and it is also
correct that mitosis is involved in asexual reproduction. However, the candidate's
second sentence contains an important error. Mitosis cannot repair cells. Mitosis
can produce new cells, which can help to repair tissues. 2/3

#67. Question 4

The diagrams below show five molecules found in living organisms.

(a) Give the letter of one molecule that fits each of these descriptions.
You can use each letter once, more than once or not at all.
(i) the form in which carbohydrates are transported through phloem tissue in
plants (1 mark)
(ii) the form in which carbohydrates are stored in animals (1 mark)
(iii) a molecule that is insoluble in water (1 mark)
(iv) a molecule that links together with others to form a polypeptide (1 mark)
(v) a molecule that contains ester bonds(1 mark)

(b) Explain how the structure of water molecules makes water a good solvent.
(3 marks)
(Total 8 marks)
Candidate A

(a) (i) A 
* A is a glucose molecule, but plants transport sucrose. Even if you did not
know what a sucrose molecule looks like, you should know that it is a disaccharide.

(ii) C
* Correct. 1/1
(iii) E 
* Amino acids are soluble. Either C or D would be correct.
(iv) E 
* Correct. 1/1
(v) D 
* Correct. 1/1
(b) Water has dipoles and hydrogen bonds, which help it to dissolve other

* There are no wrong statements in this answer, but it does not really give an
explanation of why water is a good solvent - it just states two facts about water
molecules. 1/3

Candidate B

(a) (i) B
* Correct. 1/1
(ii) C
* Correct. 1/1
(iii) D or C
* Correct. However, the candidate took an unnecessary risk with (iii),by giving
two answers. If the second one had been wrong, it could have negated the first
correct one. If you are asked for one answer, it is best to give only one, 1/1
(iv) E 
* Correct. 1/1
(v) D 
* Correct. 1/1
(b) In a water molecule, the hydrogen atoms have a tiny positive electrical charge
and the oxygen atom has a similar negative charge. Other atoms or ions with
electrical charges are attracted  to these charges on the water molecules. This
makes them spread about  among the water molecules.

* This is a good answer. It really does explain how a substance dissolves in water
and relates this clearly to the structure of a water molecule. The candidate has
actually earned four possible marking points, but there is a maximum of three
marks available in total. 3/3

#68. Question 5
The diagram below shows a small part of a human lung as it appears through a

(a) Name the type of blood vessel in which the red blood cell is present.
(1 mark)
(b) Describe and explain two ways in which the structure of the alveoli, shown in
the diagram, enables gas exchange to take place rapidly.

(4 marks)
(c) Explain why large organisms such as mammals need specialised gas exchange
surfaces, whereas small organisms such as a single-celled Amoebo do not.
(2 marks)
(Total 7 marks)

Candidate A

(a) capillary 
* This is correct. 1/1

(b) They have a large surface area 

They are thin, so oxygen can diffuse across quickly

* The statement about a large surface area is correct, but the answer also needs to
say why this enables gas exchange to take place rapidly (because the question
asks you to 'explain'). The second answer is not sufficiently clear - what is thin? It
is not the whole alveoli that are thin, but their walls. The second part of this answer
does give a clear explanation of why this helps gas exchange to
take place quickly. 2/4

(c) Large organisms have small surface areas compared to their volume, so they
need extra surface to be able to get enough oxygen.

* There is a correct and clear statement about surface area to volume ratio, and
the answer also lust gets a second mark. However, this isn't really very clear - see
candidate B for a better explanation. 2/2

Candidate B

(a) capillary 
* Correct. 1/1

(b) large surface area  - so more oxygen and carbon dioxide molecules can
diffuse across at the same time 
good supply of oxygen - to maintain a diffusion gradient between the alveoli
and the blood

* The first way is correct and well explained. However, the second, although true,
does not answer the question which is about the structure of the alveoli. So
just 2/04.

(c) They have small surface area to volume ratios, but an Amoeba has a large
surface area to volume ratio. The oxygen that diffuses in across the surface has to
supply the whole volume  of the animal, so in a large animal that is not enough
and they have specialised gas exchange surfaces to increase the surface area and
let more oxygen diffuse in.

* This is a good answer. All the important points are there and it is clearly
expressed. 2/2

#69. Question 6

The diagram below shows pressure changes in the left atrium and left ventricle of
the heart and the aorta during the cardiac cycle.

(a) Calculate how many heart beats there will be in one minute.
(2 marks)
(b) (i) On the diagram, indicate the point at which the semilunar valves in the
aorta snap shut.
(1 marks)
(ii) Explain what causes the semilunar valves to shut at this point in the cardiac
(2 marks)
(iii) On the diagram, indicate the period when the left ventricle is contracting.
(1 mark)
(iv) On the diagram, draw a line to show the changes in pressure in the right
(2 marks)

(c) After the blood leaves the heart, it passes into the arteries. The blood pressure
gradually reduces and becomes more steady as the blood passes through the
arteries. Explain what causes this reduction and steadying of the blood pressure.
(2 marks)
(Total 10 marks)

Candidate A

(a) 1 cycle in 0.75 seconds  so in 60 seconds there will be 60 x 0.75  - 45 beats

* The student has read the length of one cycle correctly, but the calculation is
wrong. 1/2

(b) (i)

* Correct. 1/1

(ii) The valves shut when the ventricle starts to relax . 

* Correct as far as it goes, but it needs to give more information in order to get
the second mark. 1/2

(iii) See diagram.

* Correct. 1/1

(iv) See diagram

* Partly correct. The pressure in the right ventricle is correctly shown as less
than that in the left ventricle, but it should be contracting and relaxing at exactly
the same times as the left ventricle. 1/2

(c) The pressure gets less as the blood gets further away from the heart.  The
muscle in the walls of the arteries contracts  and relaxes to push the blood along,
and it does this in between heart beats so the pulse gets evened out.

* The first statement is correct, but does not really tell us any more than is in the
question. However, it is not correct that the muscles in the artery wall contract and
relax to push the blood along. 1/2

Candidate B

(a) 60/0.75 = 80 beats per minute .

* Correct. 2/2

(b) (i)

* Correct. 1/1

(ii) They close when the pressure of the blood inside the arteries is higher than
inside the ventricles  - the blood therefore pushes down on the valves and makes
them shut. 
* Correct. 2/2

(iii) Seediagram.
* Correct. 1/1

(iv) Seediagram.
* Correct. 2/2

(c) As the blood is forced into the artery as the ventricle contracts,  it pushes
outwards on the artery wall, making the elastic tissue stretch .  In between heart
beats, the pressure of the blood inside the artery falls, and the elastic tissue recoils
. So the wall keeps expanding and springing back. When it springs back it pushes
on the blood in between heart beats, so this levels up the pressure changes.

* This answer explains very well why the blood pressure levels out. However, it
does not mention the overall fall in blood pressure. All the same, this is a good
answer which gets full marks. 2/2