Why is osmosis important
Osmosis has a pretty standard definition. It is the flow of water from a region of high water concentration to a region of low water concentration through a semi-permeable membrane. However, it is important to be able to distinguish between a solution of high water concentration and one with low water concentration.
Basically, it is the reverse definition of ‘concentration’. Considering the same volume of solution, the one with more solute and less water is said to have low water concentration and the one with less solute and more water is said to have more water concentration. When separated by a semi permeable membrane, water that is in excess in one of the solutions passes to the solution with water deficit, in order to balance the complete package out. This self regulated movement of water molecules from a region of abundance to a region of dearth, via a permeable layer separating the two regions, is called osmosis. A semi permeable membrane encloses the plant and animal cells. This membrane is called the cell membrane and is the osmosis gateway for these organisms as this layer judiciously regulates the nature and amount of minerals and chemicals entering the cells. Osmosis is the process that leads to the absorption of soil water by the plants. Keeping a plant in a concentrated environment leads to the leakage of water from the plant tissues to the water deficient solution, thus making the plant flaccid. This clearly exhibits the importance of osmosis in maintaining the turgidity of the plant. Thus, osmosis is a life powering activity for plants.
Osmoregulation, a derivative of osmosis, is the process of regulation of the concentration of blood in animals to match the osmotic strength of the environment they are in contact with. Without this, there is no check on the transactions between the environment and the blood cells and my lead to the entry of toxic content into the blood stream. Osmotic regulation also enables animals to adjust to different habitats like dry land and rivers. Another monumental application of this flow of water according to the potential difference is in the dialysis technique. Patients with dysfunctional kidneys can survive by undergoing regular dialysis, which is the artificial cleaning of the insides of the body. The diffusion of solutes and ultra filtration of fluid across a semi-permeable membrane is the basic working of the dialysis technique. Hence, it can be understood to be a planned osmosis process.