Difference between Active and Passive Water Absorption – Comparison Table

Active vs Passive Absorption of Water

Active vs Passive Water Absorption
(Difference between Active and Passive Absorption of Water in Plants)

Plants absorb water along with minerals from the soil through root by a process called ‘absorption of water’. Based on the involvement of metabolic energy, the water absorption process in plants may be of two types – (1) Active absorption and (2) Passive absorption.

Active absorption: It is the absorption of water, usually against the concentration gradient, by the utilization of metabolic energy (energy from ATP).

Passive absorption: Absorption of water without the utilization of metabolic energy.


Apoplast vs Symplast

image source: wikipedia

The present post discusses the Difference between Active and Passive water absorption process in plants with a comparison table.

Difference between Active and Passive Water Absorption

Sl. No.Active AbsorptionPassive Absorption
1Active absorption of water utilizes metabolic energyPassive absorption utilizes solar energy
2Water is absorbed ‘by’ the roots (Roots have an active role)Water is absorbed ‘through’ the roots (Roots have only a passive role)
3The water is absorbed by osmosis and non-osmosis method along or against the DPD gradientWater is absorbed as a result of the tension created by the transpiration pull
4Involves symplast * (protoplast) movement of waterIt involves apoplast * (nonliving part) movement through free spaces
5Absorption is independent of transpirationAbsorption is dependent on transpiration
6Usually, takes place when the water level is high in the soilUsually, takes place when the water level is low in the soil
7Occur only in the presence of rootsOccurs even in the absence of roots
8Produce positive pressure in the xylem canalsProduce negative pressure in the xylem canals
9Absorption rate is comparatively slowAbsorption rate is comparatively fast
10Quickly inhibited by metabolic inhibitors or toxinsMetabolic inhibitors or toxins do not have an immediate effect on passive absorption
11Two types: (1) Active osmotic water absorption and (2) Active non-osmotic water absorptionNo such classification in passive water absorption

* Symplast: a living portion formed by the continuous network of interconnected plant cell protoplasts

*Apoplast: a continuous network of channels formed by the dead portions of the cell such as cell wall and intercellular spaces.

*Osmosis: movement of molecules of a solvent in a solution from a region of higher concentration to a region of lower concentration through a semipermeable membrane (example: plasma membrane).

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