Active and Passive Transport - Its Difference

Active and passive transport are the two main biological process which plays an important role in supplying nutrients, water, oxygen and other essential molecules to cells and also by removing waste products. Both active and passive transport works for the same cause, but with different movement.

Active And Passive Transport

Active Transport

In these biological process, molecules move against the concentration gradient. This process requires chemical energy to move biochemical compounds from lower region to the high region. It uses ATP – Adenosine triphosphate to pump molecules through a concentration gradient. Complex sugar, ions, large cells, proteins and other particles are transported in this process.

Exocytosis, endocytosis and sodium potassium are few examples of active transport.

Active transport has two types:

  1. Primary Active transport: In the primary active transport, for transporting the substances, uses chemical energy to pump the substances.
  2. Secondary Active transport:  In the secondary active transport,  proteins in cell-membrane uses the electromagnetic gradient to move across.

Passive Transport

In these biological process, there is no need for any energy for transporting the molecules, as the biochemicals move from higher to the lower concentration. All the easy soluble particles are transported through the passive transport. This process is carried out to maintain the balance and the equilibrium level in a cell. All the wastes molecules including, water and carbon dioxide is separated and moved out of the cell using passive transport. Meanwhile, nutrients like oxygen that are functional for the cell are diffused in this process.

Osmosis, diffusion and facilitated diffusion are some of the examples of passive transport.

Difference between Active and Passive Transport

Active Transport Passive Transport
Requires cellular energy. Does not require cellular energy.
It circulates from lower concentrated areas  to the higher concentrated areas It circulates from the higher concentrated areas to the lower concentrated areas
Involved in transporting all the molecules including complex sugars, proteins, large cells, ions,  etc. Involved in transporting all the soluble molecules including water, oxygen, carbon dioxide, monosaccharides, lipids, sex hormones, etc.
Active transport is involved in the transportation of different molecules in the cell. Passive Transport is involved in maintaining the equilibrium level in the cell.
Active transport is a vital process. Passive Transport is a physical process.
It is highly selective. It is partly non-selective
It is a rapid process. It is a comparatively slow process.
Occurs in one direction. Occurs in bidirectional.
Affected by temperature. Not affected by temperature.
Active transport requires carrier proteins. In passive transport carrier proteins are not involved
This process reduces or stops as the level of oxygen content is reduced. This process is not affected by the oxygen content.
Metabolic inhibitors stop the active transport. Metabolic inhibitors do not influence passive transport.
Endocytosis, exocytosis, cell membrane or the sodium-potassium pump, are different types of Active Transport. Osmosis, diffusion, and the facilitated diffusion are different types of  Passive Transport.

Stay tuned with BYJU’S to learn more about these two main biological process and their differences.


Practise This Question

Identify the parts labelled 1-8 in the diagram given below.