Difference Between Plant And Animal Cell

Plant cells have a rigid cell wall, chloroplasts, a large central vacuole, and can carry out photosynthesis, while animal cells lack a cell wall, don't have a large central vacuole, and obtain energy through cellular respiration.

Difference Between Plant And Animal Cell

Cells are the basic building blocks of life. They make up every living organism on our planet, from the simplest microbe to the most complex animal. While all cells share certain features – such as a cell membrane, cytoplasm, and genetic material – there are important differences between the two main types of cells: plant cells and animal cells. In this article, we will explore the difference between plant and animal cells, focusing on their structure, composition, and function.

Plant Cells

Plant cells are unique in several ways. Firstly, they possess a rigid cell wall made of cellulose that surrounds the cell membrane, providing additional structural support and protection. This is where the rigid structure of plants comes from. The presence of chloroplasts, which contain chlorophyll, is another major feature of plant cells. Chloroplasts are responsible for photosynthesis, the process by which plants harness energy from sunlight to produce food. Other features include a large central vacuole and plasmodesmata, which are channels that connect adjacent cells.

The cell wall of a plant cell is composed of cellulose, hemicellulose, and pectin. It is a tough structure that gives the plant cell its shape and helps it to maintain its integrity. Additionally, the cell wall can prevent the cell from bursting or breaking when it is under stress. This is particularly important for plants, which need to be able to withstand a variety of environmental pressures, such as high winds or heavy precipitation. They are also able to support the weight of the plant and all of its parts above the ground, allowing them to grow tall and develop intricate structures such as leaves and branches.

The chloroplasts found within plant cells are crucial to the process of photosynthesis. Chlorophyll, which is the green pigment found in chloroplasts, captures light energy from the sun and uses it to convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose and oxygen. This process is essential for plants to produce the energy they need to grow and survive. Additionally, plants are able to store energy in the form of starch, which is produced by photosynthesis and stored in the central vacuole.

The large central vacuole found in plant cells occupies the majority of the cell's volume. It stores water, nutrients, and waste products and is responsible for maintaining turgor pressure, the pressure exerted by the vacuole against the cell wall. This pressure is what keeps a plant's rigid structure and helps to keep it upright. Additionally, the vacuole can be used to store toxins or other compounds that might be harmful to the plant or animals that might try to eat it.

Animal Cells

Animal cells are very different from plant cells in several ways. Firstly, they do not have a rigid cell wall, but instead have a flexible cell membrane that surrounds the cell. This allows the cell to change shape as needed and to move more freely. Secondly, animal cells do not have chloroplasts or the ability to carry out photosynthesis. Instead, they obtain energy from the food they eat through the process of cellular respiration. Other features include a small central vacuole, lysosomes, and tight junctions.

The cell membrane of an animal cell is composed of a phospholipid bilayer, which is made up of two layers of phospholipids. This provides a fluid, flexible barrier that is able to surround and protect the cell. The cell membrane is also responsible for regulating the movement of substances in and out of the cell, which is crucial for maintaining the cell's internal environment. It does this through a variety of mechanisms, such as passive transport and active transport.

Animal cells obtain energy through the process of cellular respiration. This process takes place in the mitochondria, which are organelles that are found inside the cell. Cellular respiration involves the breakdown of glucose molecules into carbon dioxide and water, and the release of energy in the form of ATP. This energy is then used by the cell to carry out its various functions, such as growth, movement, and reproduction.

The central vacuole found in animal cells is much smaller than that found in plant cells. It is used to store water, ions, and various other compounds. In contrast to the plant cell vacuole, the animal cell vacuole does not play a major role in regulating the cell's turgor pressure. Additionally, animal cells possess lysosomes, which are organelles that contain digestive enzymes. These enzymes are responsible for breaking down waste products and foreign substances, such as bacteria or viruses, that may enter the cell.


In conclusion, while plant and animal cells share some similarities, such as having a nucleus and cytoplasm, they also differ in many ways, including their structural features and functional processes. Plant cells have a rigid cell wall, chloroplasts, a large central vacuole, and can carry out photosynthesis. In contrast, animal cells lack a cell wall, don't have a large central vacuole, and obtain energy through cellular respiration. By understanding the differences between these two types of cells, we can gain a better appreciation for the complexity and diversity of life on Earth.