AAT Bioquest

What is the difference between passive and active transport?

Posted January 25, 2021


The following table outlines the major differences between passive and active transport:

Passive TransportActive Transport
Molecules move through the cell membrane along the concentration gradient from a region of high concentration to low concentrationMolecules move through the cell membrane against the concentration gradient from a region of low concentration to high concentration.
Does not require cellular energy.Requires cellular energy in the form of ATP.
Utilizes carrier proteins.Does not utilize any carrier proteins.
Movement of molecules is bidirectional.Movement of molecules is unidirectional.
Maintains homeostasis between the cytosol and extracellular environment.Instrumental in the transport (removal and entrance) of large molecules and insoluble molecules.
Transports water soluble molecules such as small monosaccharides, lipids, carbon dioxide, oxygen, sex hormones and waterTransports ions, large proteins, complex sugars and cells.
Types of passive transport include diffusion, facilitated diffusion and osmosisTypes of active transport include sodium/potassium pumps, endocytosis and exocytosis.
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