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Facilitated Diffusion vs. Active Transport: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Published on January 9, 2024
Facilitated diffusion is passive transport across a membrane through protein channels, while active transport requires energy to move substances against a concentration gradient.
Facilitated Diffusion vs. Active Transport

Key Differences

Facilitated diffusion does not require energy, allowing substances to move passively down their concentration gradient. Active transport, in contrast, requires energy (ATP) to move substances against their concentration gradient, from lower to higher concentration.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024
In facilitated diffusion, transport proteins in the cell membrane assist in the movement of substances. Active transport relies on specific protein pumps that use energy to transport molecules across the cell membrane.
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Facilitated diffusion is often used for the movement of ions and small molecules. Active transport is crucial for transporting larger molecules or ions against their concentration gradient.
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Facilitated diffusion helps maintain concentration gradients without energy expenditure. Active transport is essential for maintaining ion balances and transporting essential nutrients into cells.
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An example of facilitated diffusion is the movement of glucose into cells. An example of active transport is the sodium-potassium pump in nerve cells.
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Comparison Chart

Energy Requirement

No energy required
Requires energy (ATP)
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Direction of Movement

With the concentration gradient
Against the concentration gradient
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Transport Proteins Used

Channels or carriers
Pumps
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Typical Substances Moved

Ions, small molecules
Larger molecules, ions
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Example in Biological System

Glucose transport into cells
Sodium-potassium pump in nerve cells
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Facilitated Diffusion and Active Transport Definitions

Facilitated Diffusion

Protein-Assisted Movement
Glucose transport into muscle cells occurs via facilitated diffusion.
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Dec 17, 2023

Active Transport

Cellular Pump Mechanism
Active transport uses protein pumps to move calcium ions.
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Facilitated Diffusion

Passive Transport Mechanism
Oxygen enters cells through facilitated diffusion.
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Active Transport

Maintaining Ion Balance
Active transport is essential for maintaining ion gradients across membranes.
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Facilitated Diffusion

Energy-Independent Process
Facilitated diffusion allows for efficient substance movement without using cellular energy.
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Active Transport

Transport of Large Molecules
Active transport mechanisms help in the uptake of glucose against its gradient.
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Facilitated Diffusion

Cell Membrane Transport
Water-soluble molecules often require facilitated diffusion to cross the cell membrane.
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Active Transport

Energy-Dependent Transport
Active transport is vital for accumulating nutrients inside the cell.
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Facilitated Diffusion

Concentration Gradient-Dependent
In facilitated diffusion, ions move according to the concentration gradient.
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Active Transport

Against Concentration Gradient
The sodium-potassium pump is an example of active transport.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Can facilitated diffusion occur with any molecule?

No, it is specific to molecules that can be transported by membrane proteins.
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Jan 09, 2024

Does facilitated diffusion require energy?

No, facilitated diffusion does not require cellular energy.
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How does active transport work?

Active transport moves substances against their concentration gradient using energy and protein pumps.
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What substances are typically moved by active transport?

Active transport typically moves larger molecules and ions against their gradient.
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What is facilitated diffusion?

Facilitated diffusion is a passive transport process where substances move down their concentration gradient through membrane proteins.
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Is facilitated diffusion faster than active transport?

Facilitated diffusion is generally faster but limited by the concentration gradient.
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How do temperature and pH affect facilitated diffusion?

Temperature and pH can affect the function of transport proteins in facilitated diffusion.
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Can facilitated diffusion occur in both directions?

Yes, it can occur in either direction, depending on the concentration gradient.
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How is ATP used in active transport?

ATP provides the energy required to power protein pumps in active transport.
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Can facilitated diffusion become saturated?

Yes, it can become saturated if the concentration of the transported substance is high.
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How does active transport contribute to nerve function?

Active transport maintains ion gradients essential for nerve impulse transmission.
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Why is active transport important for cells?

Active transport is crucial for maintaining ion balances and importing nutrients.
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What factors influence the rate of facilitated diffusion?

The concentration gradient and availability of transport proteins influence its rate.
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What role do protein channels play in facilitated diffusion?

Protein channels assist in the passive movement of substances across the membrane.
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How do cells regulate facilitated diffusion?

Cells regulate it through the expression and activity of specific transport proteins.
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Can facilitated diffusion and active transport occur simultaneously?

Yes, both processes can occur simultaneously in cells for different substances.
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What is an example of active transport in humans?

The sodium-potassium pump in nerve cells is a key example.
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Is active transport selective?

Yes, it is highly selective, depending on the specific protein pumps used.
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Can active transport occur without oxygen?

In anaerobic conditions, active transport can be limited due to reduced ATP production.
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Why is active transport necessary for plant roots?

Active transport allows plant roots to absorb nutrients from the soil against the gradient.
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Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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