What would happen if living cells were placed in a sugar solution and then in water?

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The process of osmosis is the movement of water through a selectively permeable membrane from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration without the input of energy.

If a living cell was placed in a sugar solution, it would cause outward osmosis to occur. The cell would then shrink as it lost water to the outside environment. 

This would occur because the sugar solution outside the cell would be hypertonic (have more solutes) relative to the inside of the cell. There would be a gradient between the inside of the cell and the outside environment. Osmosis is the movement of water molecules from high to low concentration. Therefore, the cell would lose water and it would dehydrate.

If a cell was placed in a solution of water, then there would be a higher concentration of water molecules outside the cell compared to inside the cell. The solution outside the cell would be hypotonic (containing fewer solute molecules than inside the cell). Water will move into the cell by inward osmosis and the cell would then swell.

I have included a link with pictures of red blood cells in isotonic, hypertonic and hypotonic solutions to show the direction of osmosis of water molecules into or out of the cell.

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