Animal and Plant cell : 10 differences

By | May 6, 2021
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Cells happens to be fundamental unit of all living forms and are found in all single cellular ( bacteria , protozoa) or multicellular organisms including animals / plants. However there are some major differences between these two eukaryotic cells ( an animal cell and a plant cells).

Listed below are 10 important differences between two cell types :

1. Cell wall : First important difference is presence of a distinctive protective cell wall in plant cells. This cell wall is made up of cellulose and hemicellulose, pectin and in many cases lignin. These components are secreted by the protoplast on the outside of the cell membrane. This makes them different compared to cell walls of fungi (which are made of chitin), and of bacteria, which are made of peptidoglycan.

2. Vacuole: Vacuoles are conspicuous in plant cells than animal cells occupying a major portion of plant cell. These vacuoles are filled by water and bound by a membrane known as the tonoplast and serves many important functions, such as controlling movement of molecules between the cytosol and sap, stores useful material, digests waste proteins and organelles.

3. Size :Plant cells are larger than animal cells.

4. Shape: Animal cells are round and irregular in shape while plant cells have fixed, rectangular shapes.

Plant cell

5. Plasmodesmata: Specialized cell-to-cell communication pathways known as plasmodesmata are present in plant cells. These are pores in the primary cell wall through which the plasmalemma and endoplasmic reticulum of adjacent cells are continuous which helps in cross talk between cells. There are two forms of plasmodesmata: primary plasmodesmata, which are formed during cell division, and secondary plasmodesmata, which can form between mature cells.

6. Chloroplasts: The presence of plastids in plants forms an important difference enabling them to synthesize their own food by a process called Photosynthesis. The most important among plastids is Chloroplasts which contains chlorophyll. Chlorophyll gives leaves their green color and absorbs light that is used in photosynthesis. plastids have their own genomes coding for about 100–120 unique genes

7. Other plastids : In plants cells plastids other than chloroplast also serves important functions. These plastids are unique to plant cells and important examples are amyloplasts: stores starch, elaioplasts: important for fat storage, and chromoplasts: Serves in synthesis and storage of pigments.

8. Lysosomes: Animal cells have a lot of lysosomes unlike plant cells. Lysosome is a membrane-bound cell organelle found in animal cells except in red blood cells. They contain many hydrolitic enzymes capable of breaking down virtually all kinds of biomolecules, including proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, lipids, and cellular debris.

9. Centrosome or Centrioles : Plant cells lack a centrosome unlike animal cells. These centrosomes plays a vital role in serving as main source for microtubule organizing center of the animal cell as well as a regulator of cell-cycle progression (Mitosis and meiosis).

10. Flagella: The male germ cell (sperm) of bryophytes, pteridophytes, Cycads and Ginkgo exhibit flagella similar to those in animals, however in more evolved plants plants such as Gymnosperms and all flowering plants lack the flagella.

Animal cell

Image credit : Plant cell @ openstax