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Active vs Passive Transport

Active and Passive transport are two important biological transport processes that help to move substances such as nutrients, oxygen, water, and other macromolecules within the cell, along with the elimination of waste products using different and contrasting mechanisms.

How is Active Transport Different from Passive Transport

Basis For Comparison Active Transport Passive Transport  
What Happens in the ProcessMovement of substances across a biological membrane from a region of their low concentration to a region of high concentration   Movement of substances from a region of their high concentration to a region of low concentration
Nature of the ProcessHighly selective process Partly selective process
Rate of the Process   It is a fast process It is a slow process
Direction of Transport   Unidirectional, against the concentration gradient of the substance   Bidirectional, along the concentration gradient of the substance  
Influence of Temperature Influenced by temperature Not influenced by temperature
Involvement of Carrier Proteins   Requires carrier protein Do not require carrier protein
Requirement of Energy   Requires cellular energy Do not require cellular energy
Substances Transported All ions, cells, and large molecules such as proteins, lipids, and complex sugars   Soluble molecules such as oxygen, water, carbon dioxide, lipids, sex hormones, and monosaccharides
Effect of Oxygen   Slows down when the oxygen content is reduced Not affected by the level of oxygen content
Influence of Metabolic Inhibitors   Can be stopped by metabolic inhibitors Not influenced by metabolic inhibitors
Types   Sodium-potassium pump, exocytosis, and endocytosis Osmosis, diffusion, and filtration
Importance in Cell To transport substances against their concentration gradient   To maintain the equilibrium, within and outside the cell

Similarities between Active and Passive Transport

  • Both processes help in the movement of essential substances inside the cell and also in the elimination of waste products
  • Presence of a concentration gradient of the substance across the cell membrane is necessary for both the processes
  • Both processes ensure that stability is maintained within the cell to keep it functional

Article was last reviewed on Saturday, July 4, 2020

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