Animal cells are those found in animals and plant cells are those that can be found in plants and algae.
Both cells are classified as eukaryotes , since they have a defined nucleus where the genetic material is stored. In addition, a plasma membrane, membranous organelles such as mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum, cytoplasm and cytoskeleton are distinguished.
The main difference between animal and plant cells is the presence of a cell wall and chloroplasts in the plant cell. The following table summarizes the differences between these cells:
What is an animal cell?
The animal cell is a eukaryotic cell characterized by the presence of the nucleus, plasma membrane, and cytoplasm. It differs from the plant cell by the absence of cell wall and chloroplasts. In addition, smaller and more abundant vacuoles can be found compared to those of a plant cell.
Animal cells can take various forms . They are also capable of capturing and digesting other structures.
Some of the most prominent animal cells are neurons of the nervous system, leukocytes of the immune system, eggs and sperm of the reproductive system.
Characteristics of the animal cell
The nutrition of animal cells is heterotrophic , which means that they need to obtain nutrients and energy from the organic material of other living beings.
The mitochondria is in charge of generating energy in the animal cell, through the process of cellular respiration. In this process ATP is produced from glucose.
Mitochondria are equivalent to the chloroplasts present in plant cells, as both are responsible for producing energy.
The vacuoles resemble sacks of water. In animal cells they are usually very numerous and small . Its function is to store water, ions and intracellular waste.
Cytokinesis is the division of the cytoplasm during cell division (mitosis or meiosis). In animal cells it is produced through a ring of actin filaments, which squeezes the plasma membrane in half, separating two new cells.
Lysosomes and Centrosomes
Animal cells possess lysosomes, membranous organelles that are responsible for intracellular digestion. They also possess centrosomes, which are cylindrical structures involved in animal cell division, which are not found in plant cells.
What is a plant cell?
The plant cell is a eukaryotic cell that is characterized by the presence of a cell wall that gives it support and protection, while allowing cell communication. This wall can be found in other types of eukaryotic cells.
Like the animal cell, it has a differentiated nucleus, membrane, and cytoplasm.
However, the plant cell contains unique parts that are in charge of the photosynthesis process . Something fundamental, because it allows plants to release the oxygen that living beings need to exist.
Plant cell characteristics
The nutrition of plant cells is autotrophic , so they are able to synthesize all the nutrients they need from inorganic material. That is, they are independent of other living things to obtain their nutrients.
The chloroplasts present in plant cells are responsible for carrying out the photosynthesis process , where sunlight is used as an energy source. This is possible with the help of chlorophyll, a substance present inside chloroplasts that absorbs sunlight.
These chloroplasts are located next to the membrane and measure approximately five micrometers.
The most prominent feature of plant cells is a cell wall that surrounds the plasma membrane. This wall is mainly made of cellulose and can measure between 0.1 to 10 microns.
The cell wall provides protection, stability and rigidity to the plant cell.
Plant cells have a single large vacuole that can cover up to 90% of the cell.
Its function is to store water and maintain the turgidity of the cell. When the vacuole is empty, the plant withers and loses rigidity.
In plant cells, after division of the nucleus occurs, an accumulation of vesicles of the Golgi apparatus occurs. These vesicles fuse and give rise to a new cell wall between the two cells.
Plasmodesmata and glioxisomas
Plasmodesmates are found in plant cells, which are pores in the cell wall that allow molecules to pass between plant cells.
Glyoxysomes are organelles that are obtained only in plant cells. Lipids are stored and degraded in these structures, mainly in germinating seeds.