How much do you know about cell parts? Can you list the differences between plant and animal cells? Here are the main differences you need to know about between these two cell types. We have also found some study guides to help you go further.
Plant and animal cells have many similarities, including shared organelles. However, these cells differ in size and structure. They also use a different mechanism for respiration. Here is what you need to know about animal and plant cell parts.
The Main Differences Between Plant And Animal Cells
The most noticeable difference between plant and animal cells is the size. An animal cell will typically range between 10 and 30 micrometers in length, while a plant cell can reach 100 micrometers in length.
Plant cells are larger because they contain vacuoles that store water. Animal cells also have vacuoles, but these organelles aren’t used to store water.
The cell wall is another important difference. Animal cells are protected by a cell membrane. Plant cells also have a membrane, but there is an outer layer made of cellulose. This outer layer is called the cell wall since it is rigid.
The rigid cell wall helps shape plant cells. These cells typically have a rectangular or cube shape. There is far less variety in the shapes of plant cells compared to animal cells. Animal cells have more varied shapes and have irregular shapes.
The mechanism used for growth is also different. Animal cell growth is achieved by producing new cells while plant cells grow by increasing their size. This is achieved by storing more water in the vacuoles of a cell.
Energy is stored differently. Animal cells store energy in the form of complex carbohydrate glycogen while plant cells store energy in the form of starch.
Plant cells can produce more amino acids than animal cells. There are 20 different amino acids cells used to produce proteins. Animal cells can typically produce 10 of these amino acids and will need to obtain the rest from nutrients that come from the animal’s diet while plants can synthesize 20 amino acids.
There are a few different cell parts that are unique to animal and plant cells. The core organelles such as the nucleus are shared by both cell types.
The centrioles are organelles that organize and structure the microtubules during the process of cell division. Animal cells have centrioles while plant cells don’t.
The primary cilium isn’t present in plant cells. Animal cells have a primary cilium to detect external stimuli, and some animal cells have more cilium to make the cell move.
Plant cells need to digest lipids, which is why they have organelles known as glyoxysomes. These cell parts aren’t found in animal cells.
Animal cells rely on lysosomes for digesting macromolecules. Lysosomes can digest old organelles, viruses, bacteria, and nutrients. The vacuoles have a similar purpose in plant cells.
The chloroplasts are another major difference between plant and animal cells. These cell parts play a crucial part in the photosynthesis process that plant cells are known for. These organelles transform light into energy the cell can use.
Even though vacuoles are present in both cell types, these organelles are different. Animal cells have small vacuoles while plant cells have vacuoles that can take up as much as 90 percent of a cell’s volume. Vacuoles are used for storing nutrients in animal cells, while they store water in plant cells.
The differences in structure and organelles mean that some processes happen differently between plant and animal cells.
Cell division is slightly different. With animal cells, the cytoplasm and the cell membrane is pinched in half until the cell completely divides. With plant cells, a plate is constructed to divide the cell in two.
Plant and animal cells communicate differently. There are pores called plasmodesmata in the wall of a plant cell. Molecules and communication signals can exit the cell via these pores.
Animal cells don’t have plasmodesmata. Instead, there are proteins embedded in the outer membrane of the cell that let nutrients and chemicals in and out of the cell. These proteins can bind with a hormone or another transmitter to communicate a signal.
There are some similarities in cell respiration. Both cell types will break down glucose molecules to produce carbon dioxide, water, and ATP. The main difference is that animal cells absorb glucose as a nutrient while plant cells produce glucose via photosynthesis.
You can learn more about plant and animal cells with these study guides. We have found the best resources for learning about cells and organelles and have organized them.
You can get started with this table that sums up the main differences between plant and animal cells. This study guide is made for younger students, but this is a good way to brush up on what you already know about cells.
You can then move on to this more comprehensive study guide about the different organelles. You should print this study guide and use it as a reminder of what different organelles do. If you have already studied organelles in class, this study guide will help you keep this knowledge fresh in your mind. It’s a great starting point if you are new to learning about the different parts of a cell.
We have found this helpful quiz you can use to assess how much you know about organelles and their functions. Don’t move on to other topics until you can answer all these questions.
We also like this video about organelles. If you are more of a visual learner, this video should be a helpful resource you can go back to and go over the different organelles and their functions.
Plant Vs. Animal Cells
If you want to explore the differences between plant and animal cells, the Khan Academy has an excellent article on this topic. The material is designed for high school students, but it is a very comprehensive review of the differences between these cell types.
We have found another helpful resource on this topic. We like this study guide because it organizes the information by organelle. This is the best resource for studying how cell structures and parts differ between plant and animal cells.
Eukaryotic And Prokaryotic Cells
We have been focusing on eukaryotes, but this study guide is an excellent resource if you need a reminder of the difference between eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells.
Test Your Knowledge
Try to briefly explain what the different organelles do as you label them. Take the time to practice with these activities because you are likely to have to label similar diagrams in tests.
There are different topics that we briefly mentioned to point out the differences between plant and animal cells. You can use these study guides to explore these topics further.
Note that these study guides are more advanced and are designed for college-level students. You should still be able to follow these study guides if you are in an AP class or if you are curious to learn more about biology.
You can start learning about cell cycle with this study guide. It will help you gain a better understanding of how the functions of the different organelle help cells grow and reproduce.
This study guide is about cell division. It is best to start learning about the entire cell cycle and then focus on the process of cell division.
We talked about cell respiration and photosynthesis. You can assess how much you know about cell respiration by going over these questions and answering them as best as you can.
The Khan Academy has a very comprehensive course on the topic of cell respiration. The information is well-structured, and you will be able to take quizzes as you go through the content to see how much you have learned. You can explore the introduction section by itself to get an overview of how cell respiration works without going into details and looking at the chemical aspect of this process.
This overview of photosynthesis is very comprehensive and will help you gain a better understanding of this process.
Flashcards And Quizzes
Flashcards are a great way to assess how much you know and to review the information you have already studied. We have found different sets of flashcards and quizzes you can use to test your knowledge, expand your vocabulary, and make sure you have understood all the important concepts linked to cells.
Here are the best flashcards and quizzes we found:
- These flashcards go over all the organelles you will find in animal cells.
- These flashcards list all the plant cell organelles.
- Use these flashcards to assess how much you know about cell respiration.
- These flashcards cover cell respiration and photosynthesis.
- Use these flashcards to test your knowledge about cell division.
The key to learning about plant and animal cells is to organize your study sessions. You could have some sessions dedicated to learning about the different organelles or decide to focus on a specific type of cell. You can then move on to learning about different mechanisms and processes like respiration and division.