Comparing Diffusion, Osmosis and Active Transport

Substances (or particles) must move into and out of animal and plant cells for an organism to function. These substances are moved by diffusion, osmosis and active transport.

The properties of these forms of active and passive transport are shown in the table below.

DiffusionOsmosisActive Transport
DescriptionThe movement of substances from a region of high concentration to a region of low concentration.

In other words, the movement of substances down a concentration gradient.
The movement of water molecules down a concentration gradient and across a partially permeable membrane.The movement of substances against a concentration gradient.

In other words, from a low concentration to a high concentration.
With the concentration gradient✔️✔️
Against the concentration gradient✔️
Energy required✔️
Examples of substances movedOxygen, carbon dioxide, food substances (e.g. glucose), waste substances (e.g. urea).WaterGlucose from the lumen into the intestinal cells, mineral ions into plant roots.