What is active transport?

Through the cell membrane, active transport involves the movement of molecules from a region of lower concentration to a region of higher concentration. During respiration, particles move against the gradient of concentration.

To move substances into and out of cells, active transport methods like diffusion and osmosis can be used. Active transport allows cells to absorb ions from very dilute solutions.

Plants and active transport

The roots of plants produce long "hairs" that stick out of the soil. Millions of microscopic hairs cover each branch of a root. As a result, the plant has a large surface area for absorbing water and mineral ions from the soil.

Active transport digram show plant root

Mineral ions are essential for plant growth. Mineral concentrations in root hair cells are usually higher than in the soil around them, so they cannot take up minerals through diffusion. So, they use active transport instead.

Through active transport, the plant can absorb minerals from a very dilute solution, against a gradient of concentration. This allows it to grow. However, active transport requires energy from respiration. In humans, active transport occurs in the gut and in the kidney tubules, for example.

Active transport in plants root hair cell

Active transport in humans

In the digestive system, active transport occurs when there is a low concentration of nutrients in the gut, but a high concentration in the blood.

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