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Difference Between Isotonic and Isosmotic l Isotonic vs Isosmotic


The key difference between isotonic and isosmotic is that isotonic solutions contain only non-penetrating solutes whereas isosmotic solutions contain both penetrating as well as non-penetrating solutes. Another important difference between isotonic and isosmotic solutions is that the isotonic solutions have different osmotic pressures from the cells they surround whereas isosmotic solutions have same osmotic pressure as the cells they surround.

Isotonic and Isosmotic are types of solutions and terms that we often encounter in chemistry labs. Many remain confused about the difference between the two types of solutions believing that they are the same. However, they are not same and we will highlight their differences in this article.

CONTENTS

1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What are Solutes
3. What is Isotonic
4. What is Isosmotic
5. Side by Side Comparison – Isotonic vs Isosmotic in Tabular Form
6. Summary

What are Solutes?

Solutes are the substances that dissolve in a solution. To understand Isosmotic and isotonic solutions we have to realize that they are either penetrating solutes or non-penetrating solutes. Penetrating solutes are those which can pass through membranes of the cell affecting the osmotic pressure across the membrane. On the other hand, non-penetrating solutes cannot pass through the membrane which is why they only affect tonicity.

What is Isotonic?

Isotonic is when a solution has the same salt concentration as blood and cells of human body. Isotonic solutions contain only non-penetrating solutes and it refers to solutions having same osmotic pressure as the cells they surround.