Hypertonic vs hypotonic

By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on
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Cells are permeable to H2O, glucose, and fructose. If you place a cell in salt water, then the cell is in a hypertonic environment. The intracellular salt concentration is relatively low, so water will flow out of the cell. The cell will shrivel, becoming flaccid. On the other hand, if you place a cell in distilled water, the cell is in a hypotonic environment. The intracellular concentrations are relatively high, so water will flow into the cell. The cell will swell, becoming turbid, and then burst once it fills with too much water.