Structures of Plant and Animal Cells and Functions

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Structures of Plant and Animal Cells and Functions of Their Components

Structure of the cell: The structure of plant cell and animal cell can fully be understood through the use of microscope. The cell is composed of protoplasm which can be divided into two main parts: the cytoplasm and nucleus. Each cell (plant or animal) is bounded by a thin membrane. The cytoplasm is a fluid material that consists of cytoplasmic organelles such as lysosome, golgi bodies, endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria, vacuoles etc. The nucleus is bounded by a nuclear membrane and it consists of chromosomes (chromatin granules) and nucleolus.

The animal cell in addition has centrosomes. The plant cells in addition also has starch granules, cellulose cell wall and some plastids, e.g. chloroplasts. The structure and functions of the components of the cells of organelles are outlined in the below.

Cell components

or Organelles

Description of Structure Functions of cell components
i) Nucleus The nucleus has aspherical body which

is covered by a double membrane which

contains hereditary materials. chromosome

and genes often centrally located in the

cell, embedded in cytoplasm.

(i) It controls all life activities of the cell.

(ii) It stores hereditary information as it

contains DNA inside chromosomes

which take part in cell division.


(ii) Chromosome These are located in the nucleus and

contain deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA

It contains the DNA which stores genetic


(iii) Mitochondria These are oval or rod-shaped. They are

bounded by a double membrane. The

inner membrane is folded and the interior

is filled with matrix. The matrix contains


It is described as the power-house of the

cell. They are sites of respiration or where

energy is released from simple sugar.

(iv) Vacuole It occupies a large central portion of plant

cell. It is lined with a membrane and filled

will cell sap. The cell sap acts as a “store

house” for many substances.

It contains cells sap which act as an

Osmo-regulator by helping to remove

excess water in cells.


(iv) Nucleolus They are dense structures within the


They produce the ribosome for protein


(vi) Endoplasmic They are membrane-like structures that

reticulum form channels within the cytoplasm

Aid the transport of materials

within the cytoplasm.

(vii) Golgi bodies These are series of disc-shaped sacs. They function in synthesis, packaging

and distribution of materials.

(vii) Chloroplasts These are large green organelles in plant

cells. They contain chlorophyll.

They contain chlorophyll which aid

photosynthesis in green plants

(ix) Lysosomes These are thin-wall bodies and they

contain enzymes

They are sites for respiratory enzymes.
(x) Ribosomes These are small round bodies attached to

endoplasmic reticulum.

They are responsible for protein


(xi) Cell wall It is a tough, fairly rigid structure that

is freely permeable in plant cells.

(i) It provides protection, shape and

mechanical support for the cell.

(ii) It also allows free passage of

nutrients in and out of the cell.

(xii) Cell membrane This is a flexible membrane made up

of mainly proteins and lipids. It is

selectively permeable.

(i) It plays a great role in selective

absorption of materials.

(ii) It also protects the cell.

(xiii) Centrioles These are two small granules near

nucleus of animal cells

from which flagella or cilia arise.

They are important in cell division.

They may also serve as basal body

(xiv) Starch granules These are oval or round structures

mostly found in plant cells.

They store starch for the cell.


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