High school biology
|Passive transport||Type of transport that does not require energy to occur|
|Concentration gradient||A region of space over which the concentration of a substance changes|
|Permeability||The quality of a membrane that allows substances to pass through it|
|Equilibrium||The state at which a substance is equally distributed throughout a space|
Types of passive transport
During diffusion, substances move from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration, until the concentration becomes equal throughout a space.
This is also true for some substances moving into and out of cells. Because the cell membrane is semipermeable, only small, uncharged substances like carbon dioxide and oxygen can easily diffuse across it. Charged ions or large molecules require different kinds of transport.
Although gases can diffuse easily between the phospholipids of the cell membrane, many polar or charged substances (like chloride) need help from membrane proteins. Membrane proteins can be either channel proteins or carrier proteins.
Even though a concentration gradient may exist for these substances, their charge or polarity prevents them from crossing the hydrophobic center of the cell membrane. Substances transported through facilitated diffusion still move with the concentration gradient, but the transport proteins protect them from the hydrophobic region as they pass through.
Common mistakes and misconceptions
- Not everything enters the cell through passive transport. Only the smallest molecules like water, carbon dioxide, and oxygen can freely diffuse across cell membranes. Larger molecules or charged molecules often require an input of energy to be transported into the cell.
- Even when equilibrium is reached, particles do not stop moving across the cell membrane. Although it may seem as if the concentrations are not changing, nearly equal numbers of particles cross the membrane in both directions. This means that there is no net change in the concentration of the substances.
Want to join the conversation?
- Hi, what exactly is facilitated diffusion?(20 votes)
- When the molecules pass through the membrane via protein. (passive/active transport) Usually large and charged molecules use facilitated diffusion.(29 votes)
- How can water pass through the hydrophobic part of the cell without breaking the cell membrane?(16 votes)
- I think they have passage ways so the water doesn't touch the hydrophobic parts of the cell membrane.(23 votes)
- so if I understand, channel proteins do not require ATP. Am I right?(13 votes)
- can cholesterol pass?(7 votes)
- Cholesterol is part of the phospholipid bilayer membrane, it doesn't pass through because it is part of the membrane(21 votes)
- What direction in a gradient does passive transport go?(7 votes)
- I have a test on this tomorrow, wish me luck :)(9 votes)
- what is osmosis and what are some examples for it?(4 votes)
- Osmosis is the flow of water or other fluids across a semi-permeable membrane to balance chemical concentrations on both sides of the membrane. Try these Khan Academy videos and articles for more information.
If you really want to understand osmosis, try this experiment. Take a normal egg. submerge it in vinegar for 24-48 hours, or until the shell has dissolved. Then, take your egg without a shell and submerge it in syrup for 24 hours. Observe. Then, take your egg and put it in distilled or bottled water for 24 hours. Observe again.
I know that this is a very vague answer, but I suggest going back and re-reading the article to try to understand why this is happening. I've found that sometimes knowledge gained by oneself when possible is better than getting an answer. Also, the practical application of osmosis in the experiment also helps understand it better.(14 votes)
- What are the differences between osmosis and diffusion? are osmosis a part of diffusion?(5 votes)
- Osmosis is a type of diffusion, but it is specifically the diffusion of water,H2O. Diffusion is a term for any movement along a gradient(3 votes)
- When water passes through the hydrophobic how does it get the water to go through the body and give it energy?(4 votes)
- Water passes through the membrane in a diffusion process called osmosis. During active transport, energy is expended to assist material movement across the membrane in a direction against their concentration gradient. Active transport may take place with the help of protein pumps or through the use of vesicles. hope that helps(4 votes)
- isn't it "hydrophilic region" not "hydrophobic region" as we are talking about polar/charged molecules when it comes to facilitated diffusion? (in the last paragraph of facilitated diffusion)(3 votes)
- I'm not quite sure I understand your question, but I hope this will clear it up- The hydrophilic heads are facing the outside towards water, and the hydrophobic tails are facing inwards, to get away from the water. I think that the article's saying that the charge of different substances prevent them from traveling through the hydrophobic tails, so the transport proteins let them pass through by shielding the substances from the tails.(4 votes)