Difference Between Active Water Absorption and Passive Water Absorption


Main Difference

You might be aware from the fact that water absorption is the water uptake by the plants. In this process the water is all absorbed from soil and afterwards it reaches the leaves after being distributed to various parts of the plants. There are basically two main types of absorption that is done by plants including the active and passive. Now you would be thinking in mind that what is the actual difference between two of them! Well in the active water absorption all the roots of plants absorb water by making with some of their own efforts. It can usually happen at the time when the rate of transpiration is low. In this method the main role is played up by the roots cells in terms of absorbing the water. Whereas as regard the passive absorption has been mentioned then in this method the root cells is not concerned about playing any role in absorption of the water. As it is evident from the name that they try to remain passive. In this process the absorption of water takes place at the time when the rate of transpiration is high. Both of these methods are quite a lot difference from one another in the processes of the water absorption. So this was the overall; review about the process of the active and passive water absorption and the main difference between the two of them! They do have some similarities within them in their processes but still their differences are much prominent that make them different from one another!

Comparison Chart

BasisActive Water AbsorptionPassive Water Absorption
ExistenceTakes place all the way through the root hair cellsTaking place when the transpiration rate is high
MovementThe involvement of the symplast movement of waterInvolves with the apoplast movement of water.
EnergyInvolved to make the utilization of the metabolic energyUtilizes solar energy for the purpose of transpiration

What is Active Water Absorption?

Active water absorption is the method as in which the plant’s root hair cells do make sure that they absorb the water from the roots. They often absorb water at the time when the rate of the transpiration is low. This water is then generated and later on it is distributed all over the portions of the plants though after reaching the plants. This process is mainly used up at the time of the active transport just with the purpose to pump molecules as in opposition to the concentration gradient. The main requirement in this method is about the cellular energy. In the method of active transport, particles including the proteins, large cells as well as irons and sugar are transported. Some of the common types of active transport are named as endocytosis, exocytosis in addition to cell membrane/sodium-potassium pump. It is accountable as to transports molecule all the way through cell membrane just as against the concentration gradient. This is mainly done for the reason so that more nutrients enter the cell.


What is Passive Water Absorption?

On the next we have the concept of passive water absorption! In this process the root hair cells try to stay as passive. They are never taking any kind of part in the absorption of the water from the soil. Passive transport do take place at the time when the rate of the transpiration is very much high. This rate do gets high because of the activity of upper part of plants like shoot and even the leaves. Active transpiration takes place normally in the upper part of the plant that is just within the passive water absorption. Right inside the passive transport the movement of the concentration will take place just as down the gradient. You will be going to encounter that it is taking place starting from the high concentration to lower concentration with the purpose to maintain equilibrium. Some of the main types of passive water absorption are named as diffusion, osmosis and even the facilitated diffusion. They are fully involved to maintain the equilibrium inside the cell. During this whole process the waste is diffused out and hence it is excreted. Moreover at the end of the process all the nutrients are diffused into the cells.

Key Differences

  1. Active water absorption takes place all the way through the root hair cells. But on the other side passive water absorption is taking place when the transpiration rate is high.
  2. In the method of active absorption you will be finding the involvement of the symplast movement of water. Whereas the passive absorption do involves with the apoplast movement of water.
  3. Active is involved to make the utilization of the metabolic energy. But in the case of passive absorption it usually utilizes solar energy for the purpose of transpiration.
  4. Active water absorption process is all independent of transpiration but the process of the passive depends completely upon transpiration.
  5. In active absorption the water is complete absorbed by osmotic and non osmotic process. But the water is absorbed because of the tension created by transpiration pull in passive absorption.
  6. Active water absorption occurs by the use of root hair cells and passive water absorption occurs when transpiration worth is extreme.
  7. Active absorption entails symplast movement of water and passive absorption entails apoplast movement of water.
  8. Active absorption makes use of metabolic energy and passive absorption makes use of picture voltaic energy for transpiration.
  9. Active absorption is unbiased of transpiration and passive depends upon upon transpiration.
  10. Water is absorbed by osmotic and non osmotic course of in full of life absorption. Water is absorbed due to stress created by transpiration pull in passive absorption.


Water absorption is a normal phenomenon which takes place in different forms. These types are explained here in the article to make sure all the misconceptions are cleared about Active water absorption and Passive Water Absorption. Hopefully the details given here will help helpful in achieving the goal and give a better consideration on its role.

Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master's degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White