Effects of Osmosis on Water Balance

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Osmosis. Two sugar solutions of different concentrations are separated by a membrane that the solvent (water) can pass through but the solute (sugar) cannot. Water molecules move randomly and may cross in either direction, but overall, water diffuses from the solution with less concentrated solute to that with more concentrated solute. This passive transport of water, or osmosis, makes the sugar concentrations on both sides more nearly equal. (The concentrations are prevented from being exactly equal due to the effect of water pressure on the higher side, which is not discussed here, for simplicity.)

Source: Urry, Lisa A.. Campbell Biology (p. 133). Pearson Education. Kindle Edition.

Effects of Osmosis on Water Balance (Campbell Biology)

To see how two solutions with different solute concentrations interact, picture a U-shaped glass tube with a selectively permeable artificial membrane separating two sugar solutions. Pores in this synthetic membrane are too small for sugar molecules to pass through but large enough for water molecules. However, tight clustering of water molecules around the hydrophilic solute molecules makes some of the water unavailable to cross the membrane. As a result, the solution with a higher solute concentration has a lower free water concentration. Water diffuses across the membrane from the region of higher free water concentration (lower solute concentration) to that of lower free water concentration (higher solute concentration) until the solute concentrations on both sides of the membrane are more nearly equal. The diffusion of free water across a selectively permeable membrane, whether artificial or cellular, is called osmosis. The movement of water across cell membranes and the balance of water between the cell and its environment are crucial to organisms.

Source:

Urry, Lisa A.. Campbell Biology. Pearson Education. Kindle Edition. https://www.pearson.com/us/higher-education/series/Campbell-Biology-Series/2244849.html

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