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Animal Cells Prefer Emersion In Isotonic Solution While Plant Cells Do Not. Why?

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Animal cells prefer immersion in isotonic solutions as they do not have cell walls. Therefore the solution it is placed in must have the same concentration of water as the cell, or osmosis will take place. Osmosis is the movement of water between two mediums until each medium is similarly concentrated. Through this process, animal cells would absorb more water than they can hold and subsequently burst. To stop animal cells bursting, they should be kept in isotonic rather than hypertonic solutions. Animal cells must exist in dynamic equilibrium with their surroundings.

• Plant cells

Plant cells are fundamentally different to animal cells in that they have cell walls. These cell walls are strong enough to prevent osmosis occurred constantly. The cell walls have the capacity to control inflows and outflows of water. Of course, if animal cells are placed in a solution that does not contain enough water, it will shrivel up. However, the chances of it bursting are minimal.

Plant cells have adapted to have cell walls in order for plants to survive in the Earth's environment. Animal cells have not, as their environment within the body has immersed them at all times in appropriately concentrated mediums.

• Osmosis

Osmosis occurs in both plant and animal cells, although the process happens differently in the two cell types. It involves the movement of water across a cell membrane. If possible, osmosis will occur until the two mediums on either side of the membrane have the same water concentration. The phenomenon takes place because of the very small gaps in a cell membrane that allow the passage of water. Osmosis can be observed by submerging a slice of potato in water, and watching as the potato slice expands to absorb more water. This is a study often undertaken by high school students in science class.

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