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Osmosis refers to a process by which a solvent’s molecules pass from a low concentration solution to a high concentration solution through a semi permeable membrane.
Osmosis is a passive process that occurs devoid of any energy expenditure. Osmosis involves the movement of the molecules from high to low concentration regions until the concentrations become equal on either side of the membrane. Any of the solvents can undergo the osmosis process, including supercritical liquids and gases.
Osmotic solutions are of three different types. This includes:
An isotonic solution has the same solute’s concentration both outside and inside the cell.
A hypotonic solution has a higher concentration of solute inside the cell as compared to outside.
A hypertonic solution has a higher concentration of solute outside the cell as compared to inside.
Osmosis is of two types. This includes:
Whenever a substance is placed in a hypertonic solution, the molecules of solvent move outside the cell, and the cell undergoes plasmolysis or becomes flaccid. This process is known as exosmosis.
Whenever a substance is placed in a hypotonic solution, the molecules of the solvent move inside the cell, and the cell undergoes deplasmolysis or becomes turgid. This process is known as endosmosis.
The osmosis process affects every cell differently. For instance, if we talk about an animal cell, it will lyse when placed in a hypotonic solution compared to a plant cell. A hypotonic solution is considered an ideal solution for a plant cell because it has thick walls and it requires more water, so the cells will not burst even when placed in a hypotonic solution.
While talking about the animal cell, it survives only in an isotonic solution, while the plant cells in the same solution are no longer turgid, and the plant’s leaves droop.
However, the osmotic flow can be reversed or stopped, which is known as reverse Osmosis. This can be done by exerting external pressure on the solute’s sides. And the minimum pressure needed to stop the solvent transfer is known as osmotic pressure.
Osmosis has a significant role to play in animals, plants, and humans. Here are a few examples of Osmosis.