When a red blood cell is placed in a hypertonic solution, it shrinks as water is drawn out of the cell and into the surrounding solution. If the same blood cell is placed in a hypotonic solution, the blood cell grows in size. Blood cells in isotonic solutions do not shrink or swell.
The reason that blood cells change size when placed in solution with different salt concentration is due to the process of osmosis. Osmosis causes solutions with high salt concentrations to draw the water out of areas with low salt concentration.
There are a few exceptions to this phenomenon. Blood cells may draw water and burst when placed in a hypertonic solution under a few special occasions. Some diseases effect the structural integrity of blood cells. Additionally, when human blood cells are exposed to near freezing temperatures, they may draw water and burst.
Osmosis is an important phenomenon for living systems. The amount of salt in a given solution exhibits a tendency to diffuse through the environment, eventually resulting in equilibrium. In addition to blood cells, kidneys work by using osmotic principles. Kidneys filter an animal’s blood to remove excess salt and balance the amount of water in the animal.Learn More
When red blood cells are placed in distilled water, which is hypotonic compared to the solution contained within the cells' membranes, the distilled water will diffuse into the red blood cells and cause them to burst. Placing red blood cells in any solution which contains a lesser degree of solute than that of the solution within the cells will cause water to diffuse into them. Because distilled water contains a zero concentration of solute, it will predictably diffuse into a red blood cell in an attempt to equalize the osmotic pressure on both sides of the cell membrane.Full Answer >
Animal cells do not have cell walls because they do not need them. Cell walls, which are found in plant cells, maintain cell shape, almost as if each cell has its own exoskeleton. This rigidity allows plants to stand upright without the need for bones or musculature.Full Answer >
The main function of white blood cells is to help protect the human body from infection as well as other foreign materials. White blood cells are also known as leukocytes, and they develop in bone marrow from stem cells.Full Answer >
A root hair cell in a plant absorbs minerals that have been dissolved in water. They allow a plant to absorb these minerals by increasing the surface area; this is extremely beneficial to plants that are in dry areas.Full Answer >