How different are plant cells from animal cells?

by Ankit

Related page: Cell Structure.

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A Sketchy Overview by a Neuroscientist
by: Anonymous

Well, the main morphological differences are:
- Plant cells have a cell wall, which is a rigid covering of the cell composed of cellulose. Animal cells don't have this.
- Plant cells have a vacuole, which is a large membrane-bound, fluid filled sac within the cell. The outward pressure of this due to osmotic pressure, along with the rigidity of the cell wall causing inward pressure is what gives plant cells their structural integrity and allows plants to be fairly rigid.
- Plant cells contain chloroplasts, which are small membrane-bound compartments within the cell, containing pigments that use light hitting them to create fuel for the cell.

There are other differences but they are much more minor, and I'm afraid I can't remember many anyway.

Aside from the morphological differences, plant and animal cells have very different metabolisms as I mentioned briefly before:
- As you'll probably know, plants use light to create energy. This is achieved by the chloroplasts in the plant, which trap photons with the pigment chlorophyll, which causes a series of chemical reactions resulting in the production of a molecule called ATP. Plant cells (and animal cells) use the breaking up of ATP to release energy for most processes that need energy.
- Plant cells also have a system for taking up oxygen from the outside using a system where they trap oxygen molecules with carbon. I can't quite remember how that works though, so my apologies!

Again there are other differences here but those are the two that are most well-known.

I hope that helps slightly, as you can tell it's been a while since I studied plant science!

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