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Plant and Animal Cells

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Cell membrane of plant cells is surrounded by a rigid cell wall, while the cell membrane of the animal cells is not surrounded by a rigid cell wall. Cell wall protects the plants against mechanical injuries, prevents excessive water loss from plant cells and also gives plant cells their definite shape. Presence of rigid cell wall in plant cell explains why a plant cell does not burst when immersed in a hypotonic solution. Because animal cells lack cell wall thy absorb water by osmosis if immersed in a hypotonic solution, hence they burst.

Furthermore, plant cells have plastids and chloroplasts, while animal cells have neither chloroplast nor plastids. Chloroplast is essential for photosynthesis because plants manufacture their own food.3“Chloroplasts bear chlorophyll. They give the green world its own colour”. Moreover, animal cells contain centrioles, which are absent in plant cells. Centrioles are essential for cell division in animals.

Based on the features of the organelles they contain, plant cells contain a large central vacuole. While vacuoles in animal cells are located at the periphery of the cells ad are less in numbers and size. Vacuoles help to maintain the osmotic balance in plant cells because they contain dissolved solutes. Plant cells also have simpler units of Golgi apparatus while animal cells have single, but more elaborate Golgi apparatus. Golgi apparatus functions in packaging and sorting of proteins for secretions.

Plant and animal cells also differ in shape and size. Plant cells are larger with regular shapes, while animal cells viewed under a microscope appear smaller and irregular in shape. Plant cells have regular shapes because they have cell wall.

In conclusion, plant and animal cells differ significantly. The structure of a plant or animal cell depends on how it maintains its constant internal environment (homeostasis). Plants and animals evolved different ways of obtaining energy and therefore their cells differ.


  • Balch, William. Protein Sorting by Direct Maturation of Golgi Compartments. Science 285, 2 July 1999, 63-66
  • Herbert, Spencer. The Cell in Relations to its Environment. United States of America: Maryland Academy of Science, 1931.
  • Larison, Cudmore. The centre of life: A natural History of the Cell (1977, 1978), 2 July 1999), 63-66
  • Susan, Eichhon. Biology of Plants, 6th Ed. New York: w. H. Freeman and Company, 1999
  • Michael, Andre. Interaction Among Virus, Cell and Organism, in The Nobel Lecture, 11 Dec 1965: philosophy or Medicine, 1972, 174

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