What is Imbibition – Definition, Features & Significance | Biology Ideas

What is Imbibition?

Imbibition is a special kind of diffusion as like osmosis.

The adsorption of water by hydrophilic colloids s is known as Imbibition.

Imbibition results in increase in the volume.

The substance which imbibes water and swells is termed as Imbibant e.g. seeds or wooden doors, windows etc. The liquid which is imbibed liquid is referred to as Imbibate.

Water can be imbibed both in liquid and vapour form.

Conditions Necessary for Imbibition

Force of attraction between imbibant and imbibate –

The solvent molecules (Imbibate) which are absorbed into the materials (Imbibant) have some affinity between them. Eg.

Dry seeds when immersed in water will swell as they have affinity for water.

Dry seeds when immersed in ether will not swell as they don’t have any affinity for ether.

Difference in diffusion pressure between imbibate and imbibant –

As long as the liquid within the imbibant has low DP compared to that outside, water continues to move into the imbibing substance till equillibrium is attained. Movement is from higher DP to lower DP.

Factors Affecting Imbibition
Their are various factors affecting imbibition include following factors,

  • Pressure
  • Texture of the imbibant
  • Affinity of the imbibant for the imbibate
  • pH of the medium

Features of Imbibition

Imbibing capacity- Different types-of org substances have different imbibing capacities.

Proteins have maximum imbibing capacity followed by starch and least in cellulose. Seeds of Pea and Gram (proteinaceous in nature) when soaked in water swell more compared to starchy grains of wheat, rice or maize.

Imbibition Pressure- Imbibition increases the volume of the imbibant due to which a pressure is created known as Imbibition Pressure.

Adsorption- Imbibition involves — adsorption i.e., water is held on the surface of the imbibant (hydrophilic colloid).

Heat of wetting – The process of imbibition always results in release of heat. Eg. warming of kneaded flour.

Significance of Imbibition

Imbibition is important in seed germihation, it causes swelling of the seed which results in the rupture of seed coat and emergence of the seedling from the soil.

It plays an important role in absorption of water by roots, transfer and distribution of water in plants.

Imbibition of water by hydrophyllic colloids such as mucilage and starch in succulents helps them to withstand drought.

Dry seeds and wooden logs were used in ancient times to break the rocks by inserting them in crevices and pouring water (Plant Power).

FAQs : Imbibition

1. What is Imbibition?

Ans – The adsorption of water by hydrophilic colloids s is known as Imbibition.

2. How is imbibition important?

Ans – Imbibition is very important for plant because it is the first step of water absorption.

3. What is Imbibant and Imbibate?

Ans – The substance which imbibes water and swells is termed as Imbibant and the liquid which is imbibed liquid is referred to as Imbibate.

4. Give a few examples of imbibition.

Ans – Water absorption, wooden doors during rains these are some examples of imbibition.

5. What is Heat of wetting?

Ans – The process of imbibition always results in release of heat is noting but the heat of wetting.

References and sources

  1. https://byjus.com/biology/imbibition/
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imbibition
  3. https://www.vedantu.com/biology/imbibition
  4. https://www.embibe.com/exams/imbibition/
  5. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/imbibition

You may also like to read following articles

  1. Plant Water Relation
  2. Osmosis
  3. Diffusion
  4. Meristematic Tissue System
  5. Fruit
  6. Leaves
  7. Modification in Leaves
  8. Epidermal Tissue System

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