Difference Between Active And Passive Transport

Active and passive transport are biological processes that transfer oxygen, water, and nutrients to cells and remove waste products. Therefore, both have different characteristics. The major difference between active and passive transport is that active transport uses energy (ATP) to move molecules in and out of cell membranes and, hence, remains active, while in passive transport, molecules do not use power for their movements, and these molecules or ions move from an area of higher to lower concentration. These are the Differences between Active and Passive Transport. Let’s see how active and passive transport are different from each other.

Difference Between Active And Passive Transport In Tabular Form

Active Transport

Passive Transport

Active Transport is the movement of molecules while the cell membrane is pumped against the concentration gradient using ATP (energy). Passive Transport is the movement of molecules in and while the cell membrane (and that is transported through the concentration gradient), without using ATP (energy).
Transfer of solutes through the lipid membrane associated with an energy source. Solute transfer across the lipid membrane without energy.
The movement of molecules is from a lower concentration to a region of a higher concentration. The movement of molecules is from a region of higher concentration to a region of lower concentration
Macromolecules i.e. proteins, carbohydrates (sugars), lipids, large cells are some of the materials that are transported in this way. Oxygen, monosaccharides, water, carbon dioxide, lipids, etc. are the few soluble materials that are transported in this way.
There is the required energy, which is in the form of ATP. No power (energy) is required.
Both types of transport are to mobilize ions and molecules, active transport separately is used to do so across the cell membrane. It maintains the balance of nutrients, water, gases, etc., inside and outside the cell.
Examples: Water transport through aquaporins. Examples: Transport of sodium Na + ions by sodium-potassium ATPase.

Active Transport Definiton

In active transport, the molecules move against the concentration gradient and chemical energy is required for biochemical compounds to go from low to high concentrations. It uses energy to pump molecules through the concentration gradient. So, the transport occurs from a low concentration of solute to a high concentration of solute and it also requires cellular energy. Endocytosis, exocytosis, sodium, and potassium pumping are all examples of active transport. The large cells, complex sugars, ions, proteins, and many more particles are transported in this process. While the secretion of a substance into the bloodstream is also an example of active transport. In a eukaryotic cell, the molecules enter the cell via a protein pump, that requires active transport.

Active transport characteristics

  • Active Transport membrane is made through integral membrane proteins.
  • specific to the solute.
  • It also experiences saturation, that is if all the binding sites of the solute are occupied
  • No matter how much more substrate is added, the flow remains constant.

Types of active transport proteins

In cells, almost three types of proteins are described with the capacity to carry out active transport that are listed below:

  • ATP pumps – It carries out the transport of the solute coupled to the hydrolysis of ATP, that is, the ATP releases a phosphate group (PO -3 ) and is transformed into ADP.
  • Coupled conveyors – It carries ion or molecule is concomitant with another solute. It also transports proteins known as symporters and anti-carriers.
  • Light-activated pumps – The bacteriorhodopsins and halorhodopsins are proton pumps activated by light.

Passive Transport Definition

It does not require energy for transport while biochemicals go from a high concentration to a low concentration. Osmosis, diffusion, and facilitated diffusion are some examples of passive transport. Particles/molecules that are soluble are easily transported through passive transport. Passive Transport has the importance of maintaining balance in the cell, excrement is removed from the cell by passive transport, i.e. carbon dioxide or water. Oxygen and other nutrients that are useful to the cell diffuse into the cell through the passive transport process. It also helps to maintain the dynamic balance of gases, waste, water, etc. Net equilibrium is not maintained after the diffusion or osmosis process.

Passive transport characteristics

  • The Solute movement allows the concentration gradient, from higher concentration to lower concentration.
  • Also depends on the concentration gradient, the size of the particles, and the temperature.
  • Particles, small molecules, and ions are mobilized.
  • Do not require hydrolysis of ATP.
  • This process is mediated by transmembrane proteins, channels, and transporters, in facilitated diffusion.

See Also: Types of passive transport

There are three types of passive transport are listed below: Molecules and ions can passively pass through different mechanisms: simple diffusion facilitated diffusion and osmosis.

  • Simple diffusion – Lipophilic or fat-like molecules can cross the membrane by simple diffusion.
  • Facilitated dissemination – The diffusion from higher concentration to lower concentration occurs with the help of “passageways”, we speak of facilitated diffusion.
  • Osmosis – The movement of water through a semi-permeable membrane, when on one side there is a solute that cannot cross the membrane. Only water movement occurs in osmosis.


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