Main Difference – Agglutination vs Coagulation
Both agglutination and coagulation refer to the formation of a solid mass inside a solution. These processes occur when small particles are massing together. There are many applications of agglutination and coagulation, specifically in the field of biology. The term agglutination is used in the formation of antibody-antigen complexes. The term coagulation is used wherever a clump is formed. Hence, these two terms differ from each other slightly. The main difference between agglutination and coagulation is that agglutination means the small particles coming together whereas coagulation means the formation of a clump.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Agglutination
– Definition, Applications in Biology
2. What is Coagulation
– Definition, Characteristics
3. What is the Difference Between Agglutination and Coagulation
– Comparison of Key Differences
Key Terms: Agglutination, Antibody, Antigen, Clump, Coagulant, Coagulation, Electrophoresis, Toxins
What is Agglutination
Agglutination is the aggregation of particles to form a single large solid mass. This mass will either stay as a suspension or will sink to the bottom of the container. The end product is called the aggregate. Agglutination occurs with particles which are already present in the solution.
The best example for agglutination comes from biology, in the formation of visible aggregates of antibody-antigen complexes. This is very important in blood grouping because the matching blood group should be given to a person in blood transfusions. If the wrong blood group is given, it will cause the formation of aggregates of red blood cells since antibodies react with the blood cells, forming clumps.
Haemagglutination is the process of aggregation of red blood cells. It is a specific form of agglutination where red blood cells undergo agglutination. It is used in blood typing and for the quantification of the virus.
Agglutination has many applications in the field of science. A major application of agglutination is to detect pathogens and their toxins. Antibody molecules are multivalent substances; this means, several antigens can bind with an antibody. Therefore, large clumps are formed from antigen-antibody agglutination. Toxins formed by pathogens act as antigens. Hence, we can use a suitable antibody to detect these antigens via agglutination.
What is Coagulation
Coagulation is the gelling or clumping of particles. Typically, coagulation takes place in colloidal suspensions. Coagulation happens when unstable particles are present in a mixture. A coagulant is a substance that can cause the coagulation in a suspension.
The stability of a colloidal dispersion is dependent on the electrical charges that the particles carry with them. An imbalance of these charged particles can cause the coagulation of particles in order to stabilize the system by balancing the charges. Here, the particles get accumulated to form aggregates. Then these aggregates settle down in the container under gravity. This process is known as coagulation.
Coagulation can be observed via several techniques. For example, electrophoresis can be used. Here, the charged particles are forced to move towards the oppositely charged particles. Then those particles form aggregates that can settle down under gravity. If not, this can be simply done by mixing two sols having oppositely charged particles. Another easy method is boiling. When boiled, particles colloid with each other due to increased kinetic energy inside the system. This causes the formation of aggregates.
Coagulation along with flocculation are important techniques that are used in drinking and wastewater treatment plants. Here, coagulants are used to remove certain substances through the formation of clumps. For example, this technique is used to remove chemical phosphorous present in water.
Difference Between Agglutination and Coagulation
Agglutination: Agglutination is the aggregation of particles to form a single large solid mass.
Coagulation: Coagulation is the gelling or clumping of particles.
Agglutination: Agglutination forms a large solid mass of small particles.
Coagulation: Coagulation forms a clump of small particles.
Agglutination: Agglutination mainly occurs between antigens and antibodies.
Coagulation: Coagulation can be observed in blood.
Agglutination: Agglutination can be used for blood typing and quantification of the virus.
Coagulation: Coagulation can be used to remove certain chemical contaminants from drinking water and wastewater.
Both agglutination and coagulation refer to the massing of small particles in a suspension. But they are slightly different from each other depending on the way of massing and the applications. The main difference between agglutination and coagulation is that agglutination refers to small particles coming together whereas coagulation refers to the formation of a clump.
1. “Agglutination (Biology).” Agglutination (Biology) – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics, Available here.
2. “What do you mean by Coagulation?” The Bigger, Available here.
3. Helmenstine, Ph.D. Anne Marie. “Coagulation Definition.” ThoughtCo, Available here.
1. “Direct hemagglutination” by CDC/ Dr. F.T. Forrester (Public Domain) via Public Domain Files
2. “The coagulation and filtration processes at a drinking water treatment plant” By USEPA Environmental-Protection-Agency – (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia