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I have confusion between hyper tonic and hypo tonic solutions and what happens to a plant cell when is placed in hyper tonic and hypo tonic solution and what happens to an animal cell when is placed in hyper tonic and in hypo tonic solution?

Hi Duaa
First you have to understand Osmosis, the diffusion of water through membrane. During simple diffusion  molecules always move from an ae of high concentration to an area of lower concentration. Suppose we have two solutions separated by a permeable membrane and the solution on one side of the membrane contains a 10% salt solution and the solution on the other side is 50% salt. The terms hypo and hyper refer to the concentrations of solutes in solutions. THe term "hypo" means under and "Hyper " means over. The 10% solution is hypotonic to the 50% solution the 50% solution is hypertonic to the 10% solution
I am guessing that you did an experiment with living cells using salt. The concentration of cellular fluids is 0.9%. If we drop a 10% salt solution on a cell. Water tends to leave the cell and salt tends to enter but salt cannot pass through the membrane so the cell shrinks. If we drop fresh water on the cell (0% salt) water enters the the cell and it may burst. The only difference between plant and animal cells is that Plants have cell wall so the cell shape would remaon the same but the contents would be affected.
 I have two questions for you if you care to answer and get back to me. Then I will know if you understand
 1. If stranded on an ocean island why can't we drink sea water.
 2. a Mean little boy sprinlkes salt on an earthworm and it wiggles' why ?
 3. Why doesn't dried meat spoil  


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Walter Hintz


Science teacher for over 50 years. MSc. in biology. I can answer questions in general biology, zoology, botany, anatomy and physiology and biochemistry.


I have a MSc in biology and have been a science teacher for over 50 years. At present I am a faculty member at a college and a science consultant at seven catholic schools.

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