Why do hypotonic cells burst?

1 Answer
Jun 27, 2015

Hypotonic cells don't burst; they undergo crenation.


Hypotonic refers to a lesser concentration.

In biology, a hypotonic solution has a lower concentration of solutes outside the cell than inside the cell.

If the cell is hypotonic, the solution outside the cell is hypertonic. It has a greater concentration of solutes than the cell itself.

Water will flow out of the cell in an attempt to balance the solute concentrations on each side of the membrane.

The cell will shrink and assume an abnormal notched shape.

The process is called crenation.

Here is a photograph of a red blood cell that has been placed in a hypertonic solution.