Difference between Hypertonic and Hypotonic solution

Major difference: The difference between hypertonic and hypotonic solution is the Concentration of solute and solvent.

Hypertonic solution contains more solute concentration and high solvent concentration.

Hypotonic solution contains less solute concentration and low solvent concentration.

Content: Hypertonic Vs Hypotonic solution

  1. Comparison Chart
  2. Definition
  3. Difference in tonicity
  4. Effect on the cell
  5. Key Differences Between Hypertonic and Hypotonic solution
  6. Conclusion

Comparison Chart

PropertiesHypertonic solutionHypotonic solution
DefinitionIn this, solution outside the cell has higher solute concentration than the fluids inside the cellIn this, solution outside the cell has low solute concentration than the fluids inside the cell
Osmotic pressureHighLow
Solute concentrationHighLow
Solvent concentrationLowHigh
Effect on the cellCause “Shrinkage”Cause “Swelling”
Type of osmosisExosmosis occur i.e. movement of water out of the cell Endosmosis occur i.e. movement of water into the cell
ApplicationHaemorrhage, burn, cerebral edema etc.Dehydration, hypernatremia etc.
Intravenous solutionD5 NaCl, D5 LR, D5 0.45% NaCl etc.D5W, 0.25% NaCl, 2.5% dextrose etc.
Food preservationIt is helpfulIt is not helpful

Definition

Hypertonic solution: Hyper means “High concentration” and tonic means “Fluid”. Therefore, it can define as the solution which contains a high solute concentration in the outside than the fluids inside the cell.

Hypotonic solution: Hypo means “Low concentration” and tonic means “Fluid”. Therefore, it can define as the solution which contains a low solute concentration in the outside than the fluids inside the cell.

Difference in tonicity

To know the difference between their tonicity, let’s take an example of three different solutions with different solute solvent concentration.

Let’s take an example

Let us consider a solute as RBCs. Therefore, solute will be the compound that is being dissolved in a solvent i.e. RBCs and solvent will be the surrounding fluid. By knowing the concentration of solute and solvent, we can determine the solution whether it is hypertonic or hypotonic.

Suppose, the solute concentration of the first solution is 30% with a solvent concentration of 60% NaCl. Then the solute concentration for the second solution is 80% with a solvent concentration of 60% NaCl and the third solution is having the same solute solvent concentration of 60% NaCl.

tanicity of hypertonic,hypotonic and isotonic solution

Calculation of water percentage

Now, to know whether the solution is hypertonic or hypotonic, first we have to calculate the percentage of water in both solute and solvent by subtracting it with 100.

Now, we will have our readings, where the water concentration in a solute will be 70% and the concentration of water in a solvent will be 40%, in the first solution. Then, the water concentration in a solute will be 20% and the concentration of water in a solvent will be 40%, in the second solution. And, the water concentration in a solute will be 40% and the concentration of water in a solvent will be 40%, in the third solution.

Find the flow of water molecules

After this, we must find the flow of water molecules in all these three solutions. To know the movement of water we must know the concept of “Osmosis”. Osmosis is the process of movement of water molecules from the region of their high concentration to the region of their low concentration through a “Semipermeable membrane”.

Therefore, from the first solution, water will move from the higher concentration of water in a solute to the lower concentration of water in the solvent through a semipermeable membrane of the cell, just to maintain the equilibrium.

From the second solution, water will move from the higher concentration of water in a solvent to the lower concentration of water in the solute through a semipermeable membrane of the cell, just to maintain the equilibrium.

And in the third solution, the concentration of solute and solvent is same, therefore in such solution water will move inside and outside the cell to the same extent through a semi-permeable membrane to maintain the equilibrium.

Effect on the cell

Hypertonic and hypotonic solution both effects the cell by changing its structural configuration.

  • In a hypertonic solution, the cell shrinks because of the high concentration of water inside the cell. Therefore, water will move out from the cell into its surrounding to maintain the equilibrium both outside and inside of the cell. This type of water movement refers as “Exosmosis”.
  • In a hypotonic solution, the cell swells because of the high concentration of water outside the cell. Therefore, water will move into the cell from its surrounding to maintain the equilibrium both outside and inside of the cell. This type of water movement refers as “Endosmosis”.

Effect on a cell in hypertonic solution: In a hypertonic solution, the animal cell becomes shrivelled and a plant cell becomes plasmolyzed.

effect on cell in hypertonic solution

Effect on a cell in hypertonic solution: In a hypertonic solution, the animal cell becomes swell or lysed and a plant cell becomes turgid.

effect on cell in hypotonic solution

Key Differences Between Hypertonic and Hypotonic solution

  1. A hypertonic solution has high osmotic pressure whereas low in hypotonic.
  2. The concentration of solute is high in hypertonic and low in hypotonic.
  3. The concentration of solvent is low in hypertonic and high in hypotonic.
  4. The cell becomes shrivelled in hypertonic solution whereas the cell swells in hypotonic.
  5. The movement of water in the hypertonic solution is from a cell to the surrounding i.e. Exosmosis and the movement of water from the surrounding into the cell i.e. Endosmosis occurs in hypotonic type.

Conclusion

Both the type i.e. hyper and hypotonic are based on the concept of “Tonicity” and “Osmosis”. By knowing the concept of tonicity and osmosis we can understand the general idea of both the hypertonic and hypotonic type.

We can conclude, that hypertonic is highly concentrated which contains a high amount of solute. In contrast to this, the hypotonic solution is diluted or less concentrated i.e. contains less amount of solute.

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