Difference WikiChemistry

Difference Between Agglutination and Precipitation

Main Difference

The main difference between the Agglutination and Precipitation is that Agglutination is the process in which the production of solid mass occurs by the accumulation of particles in solution, whereas Precipitation is the production of solid mass due to the chemical reaction taking place between two ionic compounds.

Agglutination vs. Precipitation

Agglutination is an antigen-antibody reaction in which the soluble antigen reacts with antibody-forming agglutinin; however, precipitation is the type of antigen-antibody reaction in which soluble antigen reacts with antibody-forming precipitin. Agglutination is a process of formation of solid mass by the aggregate suspension of particles in a solution; however, precipitation is a process of solid masses in the result of a chemical reaction between two ionic compounds.

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Agglutination is carried out by using the particulate antigens, whereas precipitation is a process that is carried out with soluble antigens. Agglutination is a more sensitive procedure and requires sophisticated handling as it occurs with particulate agents, whereas precipitation is a less sensitive procedure because of soluble ionic compounds and done on a larger scale. Agglutination is the process of the formation of solid mass from particles, while precipitation is the process of the formation of insoluble solid mass from the reaction of ions.

Agglutination is a process where particles are the starting material in solution, whereas in the process of precipitation, ions are the starting material in the solution. Agglutination involves complex-forming chemical reactions, whereas precipitation involves simple chemical reactions of salts and ionic compounds. Agglutination forms a solid mass that usually sinks to the bottom of the container, contrary to the precipitation, where the precipitate can either sink to the bottom or stay the suspension.

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Agglutination is usually used in blood grouping, whereas precipitation is useful in pigment formation, water treatment techniques, and quantitative analysis, etc. Agglutination requires to use a smaller size of compounds for carrying out the reactions and driving the results; on the other hand, precipitation requires larger compounds or amounts of the ingredients for carrying out the chemical reactions.

Comparison Chart

AgglutinationPrecipitation
It is the antigen-antibody reaction in which the soluble antigen reacts with antibody-forming agglutinin.It is the antigen-antibody reaction in which soluble antigen reacts with antibody-forming precipitin.
Sensitivity
The procedure is more sensitive.The procedure is less sensitive.
Antigen’s Solubility
Sedimented formSoluble form
Antigen’s Size
SmallerComparatively larger
Resultant Compound
AgglutininsPrecipitins
Types
Active agglutination, passive agglutination, and Hemagglutination precipitationElectrophoresis, precipitation by diffusion, and solution
Uses
Blood groupingPigment formation
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What is Agglutination?

In agglutination reaction, the reaction of antibodies and analogous antigens takes place on broad-spectrum, smoothly deposited particles like erythrocytes or bacteria; ultimately, antibodies produce noticeable clumps by cross-linking the particles. It is the process of clumping of antigen and specific antibodies in a solution. There is a cross-linkage between the antibodies and particles. It forms the resulting product called “Agglutinin” that is formed by the attachment of antibodies to the specific antigen sites.

The end product in agglutination can appear as large visible aggregates. The process of agglutination is useful in blood grouping and, In artificial carriers, such as colloidal charcoal and latex particles, whereas biologic carriers involve erythrocytes. Agglutination tests are sensitive and usually easy to perform. Its size is usually smaller, and it is more soluble.

As being a process for the formation of solid mass by the aggregate suspension of particles in a solution, It is carried out by using the particulate antigens. Agglutination is a more sensitive procedure and requires sophisticated handling. It is a process where particles are the starting material in solution and involves complex-forming chemical reactions. The solid-mass produced by agglutination usually gather at the container’s base. Agglutination has usage in blood grouping etc.

Types

  • Active Agglutination: Active agglutination is also known as Direct agglutination. Inactive agglutination, The reaction occurs with the specific antibody and the particulate antigen—the binding of antibodies to the antigen results in visible clumps. Active agglutination has further types, including slide agglutination, tube agglutination, heterophile test, antiglobulin(coombs) test.
  • Passive Agglutination: Passive agglutination includes carrier particles and coated with soluble antigens. In the process, the attachment of inert particles to either antigen or antibody occurs, and the particles can be agglutinated when the antibody and antigen reacts. Passive agglutination includes latex agglutination etc. On the carrier particle, when an antibody is absorbed instead of antigen for detection of an antigen called Reverse passive agglutination.
  • Hemagglutination: Hemagglutination includes carrier particles that are red blood cells. Red blood cells of chick, human or sheep are the most common in this test.,In this process, antigen coat red blood cells for the detection of antibodies in the serum and referred to an indirect hemagglutination test (IHT). There are further types include reverse passive hemagglutination, viral hemagglutination, etc.

What is Precipitation?

Precipitation is the immunological reaction in which the aqueous solution that contains antigen and antibody cross-linked to form an insoluble ionic solid. This product is called the precipitate. In the aqueous solution, when two soluble salts bind together, resulting in insoluble visible precipitates. Reactions that take place between ionic compounds and salts are responsible for precipitation.

The resulting product is called “precipitin.”The antigen of precipitation is larger. Precipitation is useful in quantitative analysis, water treatment techniques, and pigment formation. The solubility is in an insoluble form. Solubility is the ability of a solid, liquid, or gas to dissolve in a solvent. It mainly depends upon the temperature, pressure, and the use of solvent.

The media support of precipitation reaction involves gel or any other liquid. The performance of precipitation reaction is on glass tubes, test tubes, or petri dish. The end product is the visible precipitates that are crystalline ionic solids. It mainly depends on the species involved in the reaction. An example of a Precipitation reaction is silver ions are present in a solution. By the addition of the Chloride ions, silver nitrate precipitates.

If transition metals are used mostly, the colored precipitates appear in a reaction. The ions that take part in a reaction actively are referred to as ionic reactions or precipitation reactions. These reactions are mainly depending upon the solution concentration, temperature, and the buffer solution.

Precipitation reactions help in determine the ions or specific particles in the solution. These types of reactions include monitoring for the formation of the products. In human bodies, these type of reactions occurs between antigen and antibody. These reactions are useful for extracting magnesium from the seawater. Precipitation is also useful for exiting the salts from water. In a reaction, it is also used to isolate the product during workup.

This process is carried out with soluble antigens. Precipitation is a less sensitive procedure because of soluble ionic compounds and done on larger scale precipitation is the process of the formation of insoluble solid mass from the reaction of ions. In the process of precipitation, ions are the starting material in the solution precipitation involves simple chemical reactions of salts and ionic compounds where the precipitate can either sink to the bottom or stay the suspension. Usage of precipitation is in pigment formation, water treatment techniques, and quantitative analysis, and in the processes where is the requirement of a larger amount of compounds and ingredients for carrying out the chemical reactions.

Types

  • Precipitation by Diffusion: A precipitation in a solution that mainly involves Oudin, Oakley Fulthorpe, Radial, and Ouchterlony immunodiffusion.
  • Precipitation by Electrophoresis: It includes rocket encounter-immunoelectrophoresis.
  • Precipitation in Solution: It involves rings and flocculation tests.

Key Differences

  1. Agglutination is a test in which “Agglutinins” forms when the antibodies attach with their respective antigens and form visible aggregates, whereas precipitation is a test in which “precipitins” forms when the antibodies combine with the particulate antigens and form visible insoluble aggregates.
  2. The size of agglutination is smaller; on the other hand, the size of precipitation is larger.
  3. In agglutination, the antigen usually is used in the sedimented form; however, in precipitation, the antigen is used in an insoluble form.
  4. In agglutination, the particles are the starting material, on the flip side, in precipitation Ions are the starting material.
  5. The resulting product in agglutination is “Agglutinins,” whereas, the resulting product in precipitation is “precipitins.”
  6. The agglutination is more sensitive; conversely, the precipitation is less sensitive.
  7. The media in agglutination doesn’t require; on the other hand, the gel or liquid media is commonly used in precipitation.
  8. The types of agglutination are Active agglutination, passive agglutination, and hemagglutination on the flip side; the types of precipitation are Electrophoresis, precipitation in solution.
  9. The end product of agglutination is the visible aggregates; on the other hand, the end product of precipitation is insoluble visible precipitates.
  10. The matrix of agglutination includes test tubes or glass slides, on the flip side, the matrix in precipitation includes Petri plate or test tubes.

Conclusion

Agglutination is a highly sensitive process that involves an antigen-antibody reaction in which the soluble antigen reacts with antibody-forming agglutinin, whereas, Precipitation is a less sensitive process that involves the antigen-antibody reaction in which soluble antigen reacts with antibody-forming precipitin.

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss