The effects of osmosis on animal and plant cells

Plant cells

Plant cells placed in a solution with an equal water concentration to the contents of their cytoplasm and vacuole (dilute sugar solution) will not experience an overall change in volume. No osmosis occurs.

Cell surrounded by dilute solution are hypotonic. They are normal, turgid cells.

Plant cells placed in a solution with a high water concentration compared to their contents (eg pure water) will gain water by osmosis and swell up until their cytoplasm and cell membrane are pushing against their cell wall. They are said to be turgid.

Water will diffuse from a higher water concentration outside the cell to a lower water concentration inside the cell. The presence of the plant cell wall prevents plant cells from bursting.

Cell surrounded by concentrated solution are hypotonic. The cytoplasm shrinks from the cell wall.

Plant cells placed in a solution with a low water concentration compared to their contents (concentrated sugar solution) will lose water by osmosis. Their cell membranes will peel away from their cell walls and they are said to be plasmolysed.

Water will diffuse from a higher water concentration inside the cell to a lower water concentration outside the cell.