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Describe Active Transport

In this worksheet, students will describe active transport.

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Active transport is the movement of substances from an area of low concentration to a higher concentration, either into or out of cells.

 

Image of carrier proteins and active transport

 

During active transport, carriers in the cell membrane ‘pick up’ particles and move them against the concentration gradient.

As the name suggests, active transport requires energy from the cell, which is made available by respiration.

 

 

Uses of Active Transport

 

 

 Image of villi in intestine

 

During digestion, the villi in the small intestine absorb the nutrients from our digested food. Over time, the concentration of nutrients in the villi becomes equal to the concentration in the gut. The cells need these nutrients, so active transport is used to continue the transporting of the small amounts of remaining nutrients. 

 

Image of root hair cell

 

Plants need to absorb minerals such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium from the soil for healthy growth. When the concentration of minerals in the soil is lower than inside the plant, active transport is used to absorb the minerals against the concentration gradient. If plants used diffusion instead of active transport, the plants would be drained of all their minerals because they would travel down the concentration gradient. Plants are adapted to absorbing minerals by having root hair cells that have a large surface area, as well as containing lots of mitochondria. Mitochondria is where energy is released during respiration. The energy is used to power active transport.

 

In the following activity, you will describe active transport. 

Plant and animal cells use active transport to move important nutrients into their cells.

 

Describe active transport. 

What is a carrier protein and where is it found? . 

Allows all substances to pass through

Selects specific particles to pass through

It is found only in plant cell walls

It is found in the cell membrane

What is essential to enable active transport to occur?  

What is meant by ‘against the concentration gradient’?

 

 

From low to high concentration

From high to low concentration

No net movement

Nitrates are minerals absorbed by root hair cells in plants. The nitrate ions will often move from a lower concentration in the soil to a higher concentration in the plant.

 

Why do plants need nitrates? 

 

Image of plant and roots

To make proteins for growth

For photosynthesis

To respire

Glucose molecules can be absorbed from the intestines into the blood by active transport.

 

Why is active transport needed?

The concentration of glucose is higher in the intestines than in the blood

The concentration of glucose is lower in the intestines than in the blood

Active transport is needed to move the glucose molecules down the concentration gradient

Active transport is needed to move the glucose molecules against the concentration gradient

Plants need important nutrients such as nitrates in order to grow.

 

Match up the sentences describing how active transport helps plants get the nutrients they need.

Column A

Column B

The concentration of minerals in the soil is very ...
...surface area and thin walls
Root hair cells are adapted to absorb the water ou...
...in water and move around the soil in solution
Minerals such as nitrate ions can't be absorbed by...
...diffusion (because the minerals are in very low...
The root hair cells have carrier molecules on thei...
...them into the cell against the concentration gr...

The diagram below shows molecules of nitrates in the soil. There are two molecules of nitrates in the soil and four molecules of nitrates in the root hair cell of a plant.

 

In which direction will the nitrates move by active transport? 

 

Image of nitrates taken up by active transport

From the soil to the root hair cell

From the root hair cell to the soil

No movement

The image below shows the process of active transport.

 

Label arrow X.
 

Image of carrier protein in active transport

Carrier protein

Cell wall

Nucleus

It's at the roots that nitrates are absorbed via active transport. The image below shows a root hair cell. Root hair cells contain many mitochondria.

 

How are root hair cells adapted for active transport?

 

Image of root hair cell

 

Mitochondria provide energy for active transport

The root hair cell has a large surface area

Mitochondria act as a carrier protein

  • Question 1

Plant and animal cells use active transport to move important nutrients into their cells.

 

Describe active transport. 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
How did you get on with this definition? It is a really important one to know, so take the time to learn it if you're not completely sure. Active transport is really important for cells - they're able to get the substances they need for different processes like digestion. Active transport ensures that substances are absorbed regardless of their concentration.
  • Question 2

What is a carrier protein and where is it found? . 

CORRECT ANSWER
Selects specific particles to pass through
It is found in the cell membrane
EDDIE SAYS
Less to remember than the previous question, but still important to know! Carrier proteins are found in the cell membrane and have a specific shape that will only let specific particles through. A little like a lock and key.
  • Question 3

What is essential to enable active transport to occur?  

CORRECT ANSWER
energy
EDDIE SAYS
Did you remember this key factor? Active transport moves particles against the concentration gradient and so it needs energy to do that. Without energy, active transport cannot occur. Diffusion and osmosis, however, are passive, so no energy is needed for these two processes.
  • Question 4

What is meant by ‘against the concentration gradient’?

 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
From low to high concentration
EDDIE SAYS
Particles will normally move from a high to a low concentration - this is passive. In active transport, it's the opposite way round and is only possible because of the energy available to do this. It is going against the concentration gradient because it is doing the opposite of the natural movement of particles from high to low concentration.
  • Question 5

Nitrates are minerals absorbed by root hair cells in plants. The nitrate ions will often move from a lower concentration in the soil to a higher concentration in the plant.

 

Why do plants need nitrates? 

 

Image of plant and roots

CORRECT ANSWER
To make proteins for growth
EDDIE SAYS
Did you get this one correct? Plants need all sorts of substances for them to be healthy and to grow. One of these is nitrates, which are needed to make amino acids and proteins. These are absorbed against the concentration gradient by active transport.
  • Question 6

Glucose molecules can be absorbed from the intestines into the blood by active transport.

 

Why is active transport needed?

CORRECT ANSWER
The concentration of glucose is lower in the intestines than in the blood
Active transport is needed to move the glucose molecules against the concentration gradient
EDDIE SAYS
Did you get options one and two the right way round? The key to it is where the highest concentration of glucose is. Even if there isn't much glucose in the intestines, what is left will still be transported against the concentration gradient into the blood through active transport. This is because our cells need important substances like glucose for respiration, and it is important that it isn't wasted by staying in the intestines.
  • Question 7

Plants need important nutrients such as nitrates in order to grow.

 

Match up the sentences describing how active transport helps plants get the nutrients they need.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

The concentration of minerals in ...
...in water and move around the s...
Root hair cells are adapted to ab...
...surface area and thin walls
Minerals such as nitrate ions can...
...diffusion (because the mineral...
The root hair cells have carrier ...
...them into the cell against the...
EDDIE SAYS
These were quite tricky options to match up, but if you read them carefully, it might be easier to see how they fit together based on the sentence structure, even if you're not sure of the facts! Minerals in the soil are dissolved in water and move into the root hair cells, which are well adapted for this by having a large surface area. The movement is against the concentration gradient, so it is done by active transport via the carrier proteins in the root hair cells.
  • Question 8

The diagram below shows molecules of nitrates in the soil. There are two molecules of nitrates in the soil and four molecules of nitrates in the root hair cell of a plant.

 

In which direction will the nitrates move by active transport? 

 

Image of nitrates taken up by active transport

CORRECT ANSWER
From the soil to the root hair cell
EDDIE SAYS
Remember that active transport is the movement from a low to a high concentration of particles. The higher concentration of nitrates is in the root hair cells, so the movement of particles will be from the soil into the cells by active transport.
  • Question 9

The image below shows the process of active transport.

 

Label arrow X.
 

Image of carrier protein in active transport

CORRECT ANSWER
Carrier protein
EDDIE SAYS
It was helpful having a choice of answers, wasn't it?! The carrier protein is essential for active transport, without it substances can't travel into or out of cells.
  • Question 10

It's at the roots that nitrates are absorbed via active transport. The image below shows a root hair cell. Root hair cells contain many mitochondria.

 

How are root hair cells adapted for active transport?

 

Image of root hair cell

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Mitochondria provide energy for active transport
EDDIE SAYS
Did you fall into the trap and go for option two as well as option one? The root hair cell does indeed have a large surface area, which helps more particles to move into the cell, but this is not an adaptation that is specifically for active transport. Active transport requires energy and energy is released during respiration. This occurs in the mitochondria. Having mitochondria in the root hair cells, allows the energy to be readily available for active transport. You've completed this activity - well done! Hopefully, you're feeling more confident with this topic now.
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