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Chemistry > Solutions > Hypotonic Solution – Definition and Examples

Hypotonic Solution – Definition and Examples

Hypotonic Solution

The power of an extracellular solution to allow water to move in or out of a cell through osmosis is called ‘tonicity’. A solution’s tonicity relates to its osmolarity. A look at the hypotonic solution will help understand this better.

Moreover, it is the aggregate concentration of every solute in the solution. A solution with lower osmolarity has limited solute particles per litre of solution.

Whereas, a solution with higher osmolarity has comparatively more solute particles per litre of solution.

Definition of Hypotonic Solution

A hypotonic solution means something that has a lower solute concentration in comparison to another solution. A solution is not hypotonic, isotonic or hypertonic if there is no solution for comparison.

It helps scientists to describe cells. Osmolarity which is the concentration of a liquid in a certain number of solutes per litre of different solutions can tell experts the way in which water gradient and solute gradients can form.

hypotonic solution

Types of Hypotonic Solution

Hypotonic Solution

If the extracellular fluid has a lower osmolarity than the fluid inside the cell, it’s said to be hypotonic—hypo means less than—to the cell, and the net flow of water will be into the cell.

Hypertonic Solution

In the case of a reversal, the extracellular fluid with higher osmolarity than the cell’s cytoplasm will be hypertonic.

‘Hyper’ means greater than. Moreover, to the cell, and water will move out of the cell with lower concentration to higher concentration.

Isotonic Solution

In the case of an isotonic solution, the extracellular liquid has a similar osmolarity to the cell. Moreover, there will be no net movement of water in or out from the cell. ‘Iso’ means same or similar.

Examples of Hypotonic Solutions

Animal Cells

Firstly, animal cells do not contain a cell wall. Moreover, animals depend on their skin to separate the outer environment from their internal organs.

Hence, the fluid in their body’s cavity is regulated by a series of proteins and membranes. The liquid remains isotonic or slightly hypotonic in comparison to the cells of the animal.

Moreover, it keeps them plump and healthy without damaging them.

Plants and Fungi

Large plants and fungi monitors and controls the surrounding around their cells. Moreover, it helps to ensure that the environment is always a hypotonic solution in comparison to the cells.

It creates cells which are turgid. The turgid cell pushes out their cell walls or membranes. It further pushes against each other creating a strong and tight structure.

The organisms keep on cycling solutes which keeps the water in the contents of the cell. If anyone ever over-fertilize their garden, they know that it is not good for the plant.

Solved Question For You

Question: A cell has a concentration of solutes in its cytosol of 1 g/L. The environment has a concentration of 2 g/L. Which of the following describes the cell?
A. Hypertonic
B. Hypotonic
C. Isotonic

Answer: A is the correct answer. Firstly, the cytosol of this cell presents a hypotonic solution when compared to the surrounding. Moreover, the solute concentration is lower.

It means there will be more water per unit of solute in the solution. Since the cell is hypotonic to the surrounding, water will lead to flow out until the cell expands its solute condensate.

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