The bursting or rupturing of cell membrane due to osmotic movement of water into the cell when the cell is in a hypotonic environment.
Osmotic lysis occurs in animal cells and certain bacteria. When the cells are in a hypotonic environment, the water tends to move into the cell. When the cell membrane cannot hold the excessive influx of water, the cell membrane ruptures.
Osmotic lysis does not occur in plant cells because of the cell wall that contains the turgor pressure.
Word origin: osmotic » osmosis + New Latin, from Greek lusis, a loosening.
See also: osmosis.