Difference Between Active Transport and Passive Transport – Active vs Passive Transport

Difference between Active and Passive Transport

Passive and active transport are two different methods to move molecules across cells’ membranes. The cell membrane is multi-tasking device that provides structure to the cell , while protecting the contents of the cytosol from the outside environment. Cellular movement inside and out of cells is controlled via the phospholipid bilayer keeping a delicate equilibrium in the cell. The phospholipid bilayer is semipermeable and allows certain molecules to pass through the membrane in the gradient of concentration and for some molecules to make use of specific structures to pass through the membrane as well as others to pass through the membrane through the use of energy from the cells. The primary distinction between passive and active transportation lies in the fact that passive transport moves molecules against the concentration gradient by using ATP energy, while passive transport permits the molecules to pass via a concentration gradient without the need for cells to generate energy.

What is Active Transport?

Active transport involves the transfer of molecules through the membrane in opposition to the concentration gradient , with the help of enzymes and the use of energy stored in cells. It is necessary to build up molecules such as amino acids, glucose and ions in cells in large quantities. Two types of active transportation can be distinguished in the primary active transport as well as secondary active transportation.


Primary Active Transport

During the primary active transport process in primary active transport, the presence of substances in extracellular fluids that are required by the cell is detected by trans-membrane proteins that are specialized in the cell membrane that act as pumps for transporting molecules. These trans-membrane protein run on ATP. The main active transport can be seen within the sodium/potassium pumps (Na+/K+ ATPase) that maintains the resting capacity of cells. The energy produced from the hydrolysis process of ATP is utilized to move three sodium ions from the cell, and 2 potassium ions back into it. The sodium ions in this instance are transferred from a lower level of 10 mM, to a higher concentration of 140 millimeters. Potassium ions move from a 140-mM concentration within the cell to 5 mM of extracellular fluid. It is the proton/potassium-pump (H+/K+ ATPase) is located in the lining of stomach, which maintains an acidic atmosphere inside the stomach. Omeprazole can be described as a proton/potassium pumps inhibitor that reduces acid reflux that occurs in the stomach. Both oxidative phosphorylation as well as photophosphorylation in the electron transport chain, the principal active transportation to produce an energy reduction.

Secondary Active Transport

Secondary Active Transport is controlled via Electrochemical gradients. In this case, channels are formed through the formation of pore-forming proteins. The simultaneous movement of another substance in the direction of the concentration gradient can be observed through the secondary active transport. Thus, the proteins in the channel that are involved in secondary active transport could be classified as cotransporters. There are two kinds of cotransporters, antiporters and the symporters. A specific ion and the substance are transported in opposite directions through antiporters. The exchanger between calcium and sodium, which permits the replenishment of the calcium ion level within the cardiomyocyte after an action potential is the most well-known instance of antiporters. Ions are carried through the concentration gradient , while the substance is transported along the concentration gradient via synporters. Both cells are membrane-bound in the exact same manner. SGLT2 functions as a synporter, which allows glucose to enter the cell as well as sodium ions.


What is Passive Transport?

Passive transport involves the transfer of molecules through the membrane via the gradient of concentration without utilization of energy from the cell through the motion. It utilizes natural entropy in order to transfer molecules from higher concentration to a lower one until the concentration equalizes. After that, there is the absence of net motion for molecules when you reach the equilibrium. The four primary types of passive transport can be identified in osmosis, simple diffusion as well as facilitated diffusion and the filtration. Simple motion of molecules across permeable membranes is known as simple diffusion. Small, non-polar molecules use simple diffusion. The distance to diffuse should be smaller in order to allow for better flow.

During facilitated diffusion transport proteins are employed to regulate the motion of polar molecules as well as large particles of ions. The transporters are known as glycoproteins, and are specific to a specific protein. The GLUT4 is a glucose transporter which transports glucose from bloodstreams into the cell. It is found primarily in the skeletal muscles and in fat. Three kinds of transport proteins play a role in the facilitated diffusionprocess: Channel proteins, aquaporins and carriers proteins. Channel proteins create hydrophobic tunnels in the membrane, which allows chosen hydrophobic molecules to move over the membrane. Certain channel proteins are open continuously, while others are gated as Ion channel proteins. Aquaporins permit water to pass through the membrane swiftly. Carrier proteins alter their shapeto transport target molecules through the membrane.


Filtration involves the process of moving liquids with water because of the hydrostatic pressure produced through the heart system. It is a common occurrence in Bowman’s capsule, which is located in the kidney. Osmosis is the process of moving water through an osmotic membrane that is selectively permeable. It can occur at a high potential to a lower water potential.

What are the Similarities Between Active Transport and Passive Transport?

  • Transport that is passive and active involves molecule movement.
  • These processes make use of Ion channels.
  • Both are crucial to maintain the equilibrium of cells.

Difference Between Active Transport and Passive Transport

CharacterActive TransportPassive Transport
DefinitionThe movement of molecules through the cell membrane, which pumps molecules against the concentration gradient by using ATP (energy) can be known as Active transport.Moving molecules inside and across cell membranes and then transporting them across the concentration gradient without the need for ATP (energy) could be known as passive transport.
Energy requirementThe energy is required, and it comes by way of ATP.It is not necessary to exert any energy.
Concentration GradientThe movement of molecules happens from low to high concentration, which implies that they are moving against the gradient of concentration.The motion of molecules goes from low concentration to high concentration, meaning they travel along the gradient of concentration.
The direction of movementThrough the use of ATP it propels these molecules up.In this process, the molecules are pushed down.
Carrier Protein or PumpsActive transport requires carrier proteins.In passive transport, proteins do not play a role. In facilitated diffusion, however, certain channels are present that do not require energy.
The involvement of permeases, matrix or other matrixPermeases or matrix of the membrane aren’t involved.It takes place through matrix/channels/permeases.
Effectiveness of the ProcessIt’s a quick process.It’s not a fast process.
The Principle of WorkingActive transport permits molecules to move through the cell membrane, thereby disrupting the equilibrium that is established by diffusion.A dynamic equilibrium between gases, water, nutrients and other wastes are maintained through the passive transportationBetween the extracellular and cytosol.
DirectionalityIt occurs in one direction.Bidirectional process.
Process typeTransporting active is an essential process.Active Transport is an actual physical procedure.
SelectivityIt’s extremely specific.It’s a bit non-selective.
The effect of temperatureThe effect of temperature.In no way affected by temperature.
Effects of Oxygen LevelThe process is slowed down or stopped because the oxygen content decreases.It is unaffected by oxygen content.
In the effect of metabolic inhibitorsMetabolic inhibitors block the active transport.Metabolic inhibitors have no effect on the passive transport.
Molecules TransportedMacromolecules, such as proteins, carbohydrates (sugars) and lipids large cells are a just a few of the compounds that are transported through this method.Monosaccharides, Oxygen and carbon dioxide and lipids are among the few liquid substances that are being transported in this manner.
TypesActive transport can be classified into two categories: primary active transport as well as second active transportation.Endocytosis, cell membrane/sodium-potassium pump & exocytosisPassive transport can be classified into four categories, including diffusion, diffusion, Osmosis diffusion, and filtration.
FunctionsAlthough the purpose of both types of transportation is to transport ions and molecules, the separate transport is utilized to move your cell’s membrane.It helps to keep the equilibrium within and outside the cell gas, nutrients, and water and gases.
ExamplesExamples of active transport are the sodium pump as well as glucose selection in intestines, as well as the absorption of mineral ions from the plant’s roots.Passive transport takes place in the liver and kidneys as well as in the alveoli of the lung in the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen.

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