Differences between Animal Cells and Plant Cells – Cells are the smallest part of the body structure that supports life for all living things to regulate their various life functions. For living things, cells play a very important role because they are able to arrange the parts in the body so that they can carry out various activities.
Cells in the bodies of living things are scattered in almost all parts, starting from the hair, skin, eyes, hands, feet, internal organs, and so on. Not only owned by humans, cells can also be found in all parts of the body in animals and plants that have many functions. Despite having similarities, there are many differences between animal cells and plant cells based on their function.
But before discussing what are the differences between animal cells and plant cells, we must first understand the meaning of cells and their parts. To understand further what a cell is, here’s an overview.
Definition of Cell
For living things, cells are the smallest material in the body but play a major role for activity and life. It is so small, you need a microscope to be able to observe it. Without cells, living things would not be able to defend themselves and develop.
Especially in the body of living things, all organs work together at all times to support the various activities carried out. All organs are composed of many components that make them able to work with various roles. Without cells, these organs will not be able to function properly which makes humans unable to carry out life.
The existence of cells was first discovered by a Dutch researcher named Robert Hooke, in 1665 to be precise. He observed the cork in the stem of the Quercus Suber plant using a microscope he had specially designed for research.
Hooke’s observations found that there were many empty spaces or parts in the stems of the plants he observed with thick walls as barriers. Then Hooke named the empty spaces he observed with the name cellulae or interpreted as cells. The cells found in his research are actually no longer alive, but the results of this work open up the history of cell research.
Based on the results of research conducted by Hooke, a scientist named Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek was interested in learning more about cells. He then started his research by using straw soaked water as a research object using a self-modified microscope in the form of a single lens.
Based on his research, Antonie found that there were several movements of small organisms in the immersion water that were observed previously. Antonie named his discovery as a bacterium. Because of his success in the research he was doing, Antonie was then considered the first person to be able to discover the existence of living cells in the course of the history of cell discovery.
Before knowing the differences between animal cells and plant cells, there are several parts of the cell that we must know. Although relatively small, the number of cells in the body of living things is very large, reaching thousands, millions, or maybe billions. Living things themselves are composed of two cells, namely unicellular and multicellular.
Unicellular is an organism that has only one or single cell and creatures that belong to this type are bacteria. While multicellular is an organism that has many cells to build various organs in the body.
Cells or in Latin are called cellulae which means small rooms are divided into two main types. The first is the prokaryotic cell, which is the type of cell that is believed to be the first organism to ever live on earth.
Some living things that are included in prokaryotic cells include blue green algae and eubacteria. While the second is eukaryotic, namely a cell type that is more complex than prokaryotic. Plants, animals, and fungi are some of the organisms that belong to the eukaryotic type of organisms because their internal structures consist of many cells.
The cell consists of several parts that make up or better known as the cell structure. Some of the sections in question are as follows.
1. Cell Wall
The cell wall as one of the cell structures is a part that only fungi and plants have. This is what makes cells in fungi and plants look unique compared to animal cells. The cell wall makes plants stiff and unable to move freely like humans or animals, so they seem to just stay in place. But plants cannot be said to be silent, because their movements are passive and slow so that they cannot be observed directly with the sense of sight.
The cell wall consists of two parts, namely primary cells and secondary cells. Primary cells are between the middle lamella as the outermost layer and secondary cells. The primary cell wall contains several substances such as cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, and protein and is thin in texture because it is formed during division. The thickening of the primary cell wall due to the presence of lignin forms secondary cells that are stiffer, thicker, and stronger in texture. Secondary cells contain several substances including lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose.
2. Plasma membrane
The plasma membrane is the widest part whose job is to keep the components in it well maintained. Think of it like a shopping bag that can wrap all groceries, that’s the role of the plasma membrane. The plasma membrane or also known as the cell membrane is owned by all living things, be it humans, plants, fungi, animals, even bacteria. This section is composed of several chemical elements, namely lipids (phospholipids), carbohydrates, and proteins.
The nature of the plasma membrane is semipermeable, meaning that only a few substances can pass through it and enter the cell. Some of the functions of the plasma membrane include being able to keep the contents of the cell from leaving and as a recipient of stimuli from the outside. This section also plays a role in controlling the exchange between the cytoplasm and its environment.
The cytoplasm is the part that acts as a storage place for several important chemicals needed by the organism’s body. The stored chemicals are ions, enzymes, glucose, fat, and proteins which are responsible for the formation of cell metabolism. This section is composed of substances in the form of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, water, and minerals.
The cytoplasm moves dynamically due to several contents arranged in it which keeps it moving due to ionic charges. This cytoplasmic movement is known as brown movement.
In cells, organelles can be found in the cytoplasm. Organelles can be found in some single-celled living things (eukaryotic) and very rarely found in many-celled living things (prokaryotes). This section has several main units and other units with their respective functions.
Some of the main units in organelles are the Nucleus (core part), Mitochondria, Golgi Body, Chloroplasts, Vacuoles, and Endoplasmic Reticulum (RE). While the other parts in it are Centrosome, Autophagosome, Acrosome, Cilia, Flagella, Hydrogenosome, Lysosomes, Ribosomes, Plastids, Centrioles, Peroxisomes, and others.
Differences between Animal Cells and Plant Cells
After knowing what a cell is and its parts, there are several differences between animal cells and plant cells that you can find. Here are some differences between animal cells and plant cells that stand out enough to be observed.
1. Cell Size and Shape
The first difference between animal cells and plant cells can be seen from the size and shape of the cells. The cells in plants are larger, while those in animals tend to be smaller. Judging from its shape, the size of cells in plants tends to be more fixed and stable, while cells in animals are not fixed in shape.
2. Cell Wall
As the outermost layer, the cell wall is responsible for lining and protecting the plasma membrane. The difference between animal cells and plant cells is that animals do not have a cell wall while plants do. This is probably the most prominent because the cell walls make plants look stiff and strong. While humans and animals do not have cell walls that allow them to move freely wherever they wish.
However, keep in mind that plants can actually move, namely through growth towards a larger size and their roots that continue to spread. This movement is called a passive movement because it cannot be observed and lasts a long time.
Chloroplasts are a part of the cell that is only found in plants. This section functions in the ongoing process of photosynthesis, namely the process of producing food by utilizing several substances from outside the plant body. Chloroplasts will provide a container to be able to photosynthesize. Plants will utilize water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide to be converted into chemical energy. This energy is then stored by plants in the form of carbohydrates or other compounds needed during the growth process.
The process of photosynthesis requires sunlight in making food, this is what distinguishes it from animals. Food sources in animals are not obtained by utilizing sunlight so they do not have chloroplasts in their bodies. After all, animals are not creatures that make their own food like plants. Animals will use other living things as a source of food by hunting.
Lysosomes are one of the organelles that are only owned by animals with a very important role. This section plays a role in filtering foreign matter and dirt that enters the animal’s body so it doesn’t interfere with the digestive process. Lysosomes consist of a membrane with a thickness of about 9 nanometers which can prevent leakage of enzymes. The inner membrane of lysosomes contains several enzymes such as hydrolytic, nuclease, phosphatase, protease, and others. These enzymes help the work function of lysosomes.
Plants do not have lysosomes like animals because they do not process food like animals and the structure of the digestive organs is very different. The process of digestion in plants is carried out by vacuoles.
As one of the organelles in cells, centrol helps the process of cell division by separating chromosomes. Centrioles are shaped like a tube with a diameter of 250 nanometers with a length of between 150-500 nanometers which are located near the nucleus or cell nucleus.
When cell division occurs, the centrioles will duplicate themselves by DNA replication. Centrioles consist of 2 parts of the microtubule component where in each component there are 9 microtubules. In cell division, centrioles will help the process of mitosis and cytokinesis.
Centrioles can only be found in animals, while plants do not need them. Basically, animals are creatures whose cells are not fixed so that self-division is difficult to do. While plant cells tend to be fixed so they don’t need centrioles for their development.
The vacuole is a liquid-filled cell organelle separated by a membrane called the tonoplast. This liquid is like water which contains enzymes, alkaloids, salts, acids, bases, minerals, glucose, organic acids, and amino acids. Vacuoles can be divided into two, namely Contractile Vacuoles and Non-contractile Vacuoles.
The Contractile Vacuole whose job is to remove water from the cell to maintain molecules in the cell and maintain ion concentration. Meanwhile, the non-contractile vacuole plays a role in digesting the food consumed and distributing it to all parts.
Vacuoles are easier to find in all types of plants, whereas in animals their existence is difficult to detect. In plants, this part is larger and more permanent. Whereas in animals, vacuoles are smaller in size and are not permanent. There are only a few animals that have vacuoles in their cells, namely animals that are classified as unicellular such as protozoa.
The next difference between animal cells and plant cells is in the cell organelles called cilia. In living things, cilia are responsible for cell movement and help protect the passage of cells in the process of metabolism. Cilia will appear in large numbers on the surface of the cell. The shape looks like a thin thread with a thickness of up to 0.25 ultra meters and a length of between 2-20 ultra meters. Animals are organisms that have cilia because of their dynamic and active movements. Meanwhile, plants do not have cilia because the cells in them tend to be stable and rarely move.
Photosynthesis in plants requires a place so that it can take place properly. The cell organelles that play a role in this are plastids. The location of the plastids is on the inner and outer membranes which are quite diverse in shape. In addition to the process of photosynthesis, plastids also act as containers for survival such as breathing, eating and drinking.
The content of green pigment (chlorophyll) in plastids is called chloroplasts, while pigments other than green are called chromoplasts. In addition to chloroplasts and chromoplasts, plastids can also produce colorless pigments, also known as leucoplasts. The size of the diameter of the plastids ranges from 4-6 ultra meters with the number reaching 20-40 ultra meters in some plants that are classified as high levels. Plastids can only be found in plants, animal cells do not have plastids.
The last difference between animal cells and plant cells is flagella. In biology, flagella are cell organelles that are long and thin like threads with active movements. This section is owned by many living things that are single-celled (unicellular) and some organisms that are multi-celled (multicellular). Flagella are responsible for locomotion in organisms, whether prokaryotic or eukaryotic. The size is between 15-20 nanometers and tends to be clear in color and has a convex shape when observed using a microscope.
Some organisms can have more than one flagellum in their cells, such as single-celled algae (Escherichia Coli and Euglena Viridis). Flagella are easy to find in animal cells compared to plant cells. This is because animals are actively moving while plants tend to be more passive.
Even so, some plants also have flagella like moss and some plants with open seeds. Flagella in plants function as a tool to go to a place where there are many water sources. While flowering plants do not have it.
Those are some differences between animal cells and plant cells based on their function to support life. Even though they both have cells, in fact both animals and plants have very different cell work functions. But basically the existence of cells is needed, because without cells living things will not be able to carry out their lives properly.