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Submitted By harjoty22
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Cell Membrane Transport
Harjot Dhesi
Zoology 2011-13
Amon Gekombe
17 February 2014

Introduction The human body must maintain a balance within itself in order to abstain from disturbances caused by the external environment, for example a sudden increase in the outside temperature, or even the internal environment of the body, such as a dramatic drop in blood pressure. The body maintains this equilibrium through various methods and regulators, beginning in the cellular level. The human cell has a selectively permeable plasma membrane, allowing only certain substances to easily pass through to reach the inside or outside of the cell. Small, uncharged, and nonpolar molecules pass with the most ease through the plasma membrane (Tortora and Derrickson 2012). The constant moving in and out of substances is crucial in sustaining the life of the cell. Tortora and Derrickson explain in their book Principles of Anatomy and Physiology that, “Certain substances must move into the cell to support metabolic reactions. Other substances that have been produced by the cell for export or as cellular waste products must move out of the cell” (Tortora Derrickson 2012). Because of the selectively permeable nature of its plasma membrane, the cell can retain chemicals that have a difference in concentration on the inside than on outside of the cell. This is called the concentration gradient. A substance can either move against its concentration gradient by an active process, which requires cellular energy, or down its concentration gradient by a passive process, which does not require cellular energy as the substance moves utilizing its own kinetic energy (Tortora Derrickson 2012). When a substance moves “down the concentration gradient”, it is moving from an area containing its higher concentration to an area containing its lower concentration. The experiments performed in...

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