15 Difference between Active and Passive Transport (With Table)

Cells usually undertake crucial processes from within. These processes help to facilitate growth and development in the organisms. But these internal processes need transport mechanisms to be successful. 

The transport system enhances the movement of nutrients, chemicals, and other substances within the cells. These transport mechanisms are further classified into active and passive transport. 

So, what is the main difference between active and passive transport? Active transport uses energy to pump molecules against concentration gradient while passive transport allows molecules to pass the cell membrane via concentration gradient without the use of cellular energy. 

This article provides active and passive transport examples. Take the time to read through it and get to know the similarities between active and passive transport. 

You May Also Like: Difference between Osmosis and Diffusion 

Comparison  Table (Active Vs Passive Transport)

Active Transport Passive Transport
Require ATP to take placeDo not require ATP to take place
Involve moment from a region of lower concentration to higher concentrationInvolve movement from a region of high concentration to low concentration.
Involve the transport of molecules in a cellEnhance balance and equilibrium
Tend to be a dynamic processTend to be a physical process
Molecules are highly selectiveMolecules are non-selective
The process tends to be rapidThe process tends to be comparatively slow
Transport occurs in one directionTransport occurs in bidirectional
The process can be influenced by temperature changesThe process cannot be influenced by temperature changes
Carrier proteins are requiredCarrier proteins are not required
Endocytosis, Exocytosis, Proton pumps, and Sodium potassium pumpsFiltration, osmosis, and diffusion

What Is Active Transport?

Active transport is the movement of ions or molecules from a region of low concentration to a region of high concentration against a concentration gradient.

This form of transport normally requires chemical energy and enzymes to facilitate the biological process. ATP is the commonly used energy to pump molecules against the concentration gradient.

Some of the common particles moved by active transport are complex sugar ions, large cells, and proteins among many others.

Active transport is usually classified into two types:

Primary Active Transport

The biological process involves the transfer of molecules from extracellular fluid to the specific transmembrane protein on the cell membrane by the use of ATP.

The process is responsible for regulating the resting potential of cells by checking on the number of sodium and potassium ions present.

Secondary Active Transport

The biological process where the protein found on the cell membrane uses an electromagnetic gradient to move across the membrane. The movement is enhanced by cotransporter.

The cotransporter is further divided into symporters and antiporters. A symporter is where ions and solute move in the same direction.

On the other hand, antiporter is where both solute and ions move in the opposite direction. Here the solute moves along the concentration gradient while the ions against the concentration gradient.

What Is Passive Transport?

Passive transport is a biological process that involves the movement of molecules from a region of high concentration to a region of low concentration.

The process does not need the use of energy to transport the molecules. According to research, all soluble products are moved by passive transport.

The main biological process is to maintain balance and attain equilibrium in a cell. It is also responsible for eliminating waste such as carbon dioxide and water from the cell.

Some of the common examples of passive transport include:

Osmosis

Osmosis is a passive transport that involves the movement of solvent molecules from a region of high concentration to a region of low concentration through a semipermeable membrane.

Diffusion

Diffusion is another passive transport that entails the movement of solute molecules from a region of high concentration to a region of low concentration. It can either be simple or facilitated diffusion.

Filtration

The biological process involves the movement of solutes, solvents, and ions across a membrane by use of hydrostatic pressure.

Main Difference Between Active and Passive Transport  

  1. Active transport involves the movement of molecules against the concentration gradient by the use of biochemical energy while passive transport is the movement of molecules along a concentration gradient without using energy.
  2. Active transport involves the movement of molecules from a region of low concentration to a region of high concentration while passive transport involves the movement of solvent molecules from a region of high to low concentration.
  3. Active transport tends to be rapid and unidirectional while passive transport tends to be comparatively slow and bidirectional.
  4. Some of the common materials transported by active transport are large cells, proteins, lipids, and complex sugar ions whereas those of passive transport are water, lipids, carbon dioxide, and oxygen.
  5. Types of active transport are Proton pumps, Exocytosis, Sodium-potassium pumps, and Endocytosis while passive transport is filtration, osmosis, and diffusion.
  6. Passive transport is meant to maintain balance and equilibrium within or outside the cell whereas active transport to carry ions and molecules.
  7. Active transport tend to decrease with increasing temperature whereas passive transport is not affected by temperature changes
  8. Active transport is stopped by metabolic inhibitors whereas passive transport is not affected by metabolic inhibitors
  9. Active transport either slows down or stops due to oxygen deficiency whereas passive transport is not affected by oxygen deficiency 
  10. Passive transport is a bidirectional process whereas active transport is a unidirectional process
  11. Passive transport is comparatively slow whereas active transport is a rapid process
  12. Passive transport is a physical process whereas active transport is a vital process
  13. Active transport requires carrier proteins whereas passive transport move through the matrix
  14. Active transport is highly selective whereas passive transport is partially non-selective
  15. Active Transport require high energy in form of ATP whereas passive transport does not require energy 

Similarities between Active and Passive Transport 

  1. Both involve the movement of molecules in and out of the cell
  2. Both make use of chemical ion channels
  3. Both occur in the cell 

You May Also Like:

Summary

Both active and passive transport are two important biological processes in the body. They are responsible for the movement of molecules and ions within or outside the cells.

The core difference between active and passive transport the mechanism of transfer of molecules or ions across the membrane.

More Sources and References

Passive Transport. Wikipedia

Active and Passive Transport. SlideShare 

Leave a Comment