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Diffusion and Osmosis

What is diffusion?
• The movement of particles from a region of higher concentration to a region of lower concentration

Diffusion can take place :• • • • Using solid as a medium Using liquid as a medium Using gas as a medium With or without a partially permeable membrane

Diffusion in solid
Example: - The colourless agar with copper (II) sulphate crystals embedded turns blue after a few minutes. Explanation: - The copper (II) sulphate particles have diffused from a region of higher concentration to a region of lower concentration.

Diffusion in liquid
Example: - The water will take the colour of the drop of food colouring Explanation: - The drop of food colouring contains many particles. (region of higher concentration) - The water has no food colouring particles. (region of lower concentration) - As the food colouring particles and the water particles mix, the food colouring particles will diffuse throughout the water.

Diffusion in gas
Example: The smell of the air freshener spreads across the room. Explanation: The air freshener particles diffuses across the room from a region of higher concentration to a region of lower concentration. Higher

Lower concentration

Depress

concentration

Diffusion through a partially permeable membrane
Example: - The starch solution in the visking tubing which is a partially permeable membrane changes from colourless to blue after some time.

Iodine Starch Solution

Explanation: - There was a higher concentration of iodine particles in the beaker. - As a result, the iodine particles diffuses into the visking tubing. - In the presence of starch, iodine will changes from reddish brown to dark blue.

Hence, there is a net movement of sugar molecules from solution A to solution B and a net movement of water molecules from olution B to solution A. After awhile, both olutions will have the same concentration of ugar and water molecules. permeable
membrane

Diffusion through a partially permeable membrane
A B
permeable membrane water molecules

10 % sucrose solution 2 % sucrose solution

sucrose molecules Movement of sucrose molecules from A to B Movement of water molecules from A to B

Solutions A and B are separated by a partially Also, solution B has a higher concentration of Since solution A has a which concentration permeable membrane, higher allows both watertypes of moleculesmore water move molecules. Thus, are Both andmore sugar molecules will diffuse of sugar, large molecules tofree tothrough. small pass molecules will diffuse from solution B to in across the membrane asand the solutes (the from the solvent (water) the Both solution A to solution B. particles are solution A. constantmolecules) can pass through it. sucrose random motion.

Example of Diffusion in Plants
• Diffusion in the absence of membranes
Similarly, oxygen given Carbon dioxide during off Diffusion occursenters the during through in the leaves photosynthesis photosynthesis the diffuses moving into stomata, of of leaf airair absenceout membranes. spaces in the leaves.lower as there is a concentration of oxygen outside the leaves. This is because the carbon dioxide concentration is higher outside the leaves than in the air spaces inside the leaves.

cross-section of part of leaf

air spaces

high concentration of oxygen low concentration of carbon dioxide oxygen diffuses out through stomata

carbon dioxide diffuses in through stomata

Diffusion in Animals
• Diffusion occurs when digested food is absorbed into the blood stream in the small intestine. • There is a higher concentration of digested food in the small intestine, so digested food molecules will diffuse into the blood stream.

25.2 Osmosis
• Osmosis is the net movement of water molecules from a region of higher concentration of water molecules (higher water potential) to a region of lower concentration of water molecules (lower water potential) through a partially permeable membrane.

Osmosis in non-living systems
Water molecules are small enough to pass through the membrane A B Sucrose molecules are too big to pass through its pores. 10% sucrose solution (lower concentration of water molecules; lower water potential) 5% sucrose solution (higher concentration of water molecules; higher water potential) Partially permeable membrane

As water molecules flow, the volume of solution A rises and the volume of During osmosis, the water molecules will flow from solution B with higher Solutions A and When the concentrations of both solutions A and B are solution B drops. B are separated by a partially permeable membrane. concentration ofallows molecules (higher water potential) to solutionnot The membrane water smaller water molecules to pass through but A the same, there will be no net movement of water molecules. withlarger sugar molecules. water molecules (lower water potential). the lower concentration of

Osmosis in living organisms
• Recall some properties of cells: o Cell membrane of both plant and animal cells is partially permeable. o The plant cell wall is made of cellulose. It is permeable. o The plant cell has a relatively rigid (firm) cell wall.

Osmosis in living organisms
• What happens to animal cells when they are placed in distilled water? • Animal cells
o Animal cells have elastic membranes. When the water molecules flow in, the animal cells will swell and eventually burst.
water moves in

Water potential outside the cell is higher than that in the cytoplasm.

Cell expands and eventually bursts.

Osmosis in living organisms
• What happens to plant cells when they are placed in distilled water? • Plant cells
o Plant cells have strong, rigid cells walls which prevent the cells from expanding too much. o When water molecules flow in, the contents in the cell press the cell wall. o The water creates a pressure on the cell wall of the plant cell. This is called turgor pressure and keeps the plant tissues turgid. o Soft tissues in plants depend on turgor for support. If plants lose too much water, they will wilt.

Osmosis in living organisms
• Plant cells
water moves in

Water potential outside the cell is higher than that in the cell sap.

Cell expands and becomes turgid. The rigid cellulose cell wall expands slightly only. This prevents the cell from bursting.

Osmosis in living organisms
• What happens to animal cells when they are placed in concentrated solution? • Animal cells
o Animal cells will shrivel up as they lose water.
Water leaves the cell by osmosis

Concentration of water molecules outside the cell is lower than that in the cytoplasm.

Cell shrinks and becomes soft. It is dehydrated.

Osmosis in living organisms
• What happens to plant cells when they are placed in concentrated solution? • Plant cells
o When the concentration of water potential of the cell is higher than that of the surrounding solution, water leaves the plant cells by osmosis. o The vacuoles shrink and the cell contents pulls away from the cellulose cell walls. The plant cells lose turgor pressure and become flaccid.

Osmosis in living organisms
• Plant cells
Water leaves the cell by osmosis.

Concentration of the water molecules outside the cell is lower than that in the cell sap.

Cell contents pull away from the cell walls and the cell becomes flaccid.

 Osmosis occurs in:
a) Our cells - Our cells need water.
Our cells take in water by means of osmosis via our cell membrane which acts as a permeable membrane.

b) Plant cells
-

The root hair cells take in water from the soil by osmosis. This is because the concentration of water in the soil is higher than that in the cell sap of the root hair cells. Once inside the roots, this water then moves from cell to cell by osmosis until it reaches the xylem.

Magnified view of part of a root

Root hair cell

Soil
soil particles

Root

root hair cell

Water & mineral salts

Root cells

Soil
soil particles

Root

root hair cell

Water & mineral salts

Root cells

Soil
soil particles

Root

root hair cell

Water & mineral salts

Root cells

Soil
soil particles

Root

root hair cell

Water & mineral salts

Root cells

Soil
soil particles

Root

root hair cell

Water & mineral salts

Root cells

Soil
soil particles

Root

root hair cell

Water & mineral salts

Root cells

How then is mineral salts taken in by the root hair cells?
• By diffusion. • There is a higher concentration of mineral salts in the soil than the sap of the root hair cell. • Hence mineral salts diffuses into the root hair cell.