Cytoplasm is the gooey jelly or jam-like substance that is inside of every cell.

This substance is important as it brings structure to the cell and allows all of the organelles to be held in place. If this substance wasn’t there, the cells would collapse and not function.

Both plant-like and animal-like cells contain cytoplasm. The fluid or liquid portion of cytoplasm is called “cytosol” and it is in every part of a cell except inside the nucleus and the other organelles.

Cytosol is basically colorless and consists of mostly water, and it has a very gooey consistency. Cytosol actually contains a mixture of what are called “cytoskeleton filaments.”

At first glance, cytosol might appear to be fairly simple, but it’s really quite complex. It’s more than just a liquid jelly, even though it’s made up of mostly water.

The cytoplasm is a base substance that allows a lot of things to float around within the cell. These can include the organelles themselves as well as salt, proteins, enzymes, sugars, fatty acids, amino acids, and other important molecules.

Cytoplasm is the material that allows easy movement inside the cell so that all of the parts can perform their functions. One of the important items found in cytoplasm is enzymes.

These help to break down the food that is allowed into the cell.

Anatomy of an Animal Cell

You can kind of think of the organelles being suspended in the cytoplasm. It’s thick enough to keep some things in place while allowing movement for those that need it.

The cytoplasm also contains waste products that will be broken down and then let out of the cell by the vacuoles.

Some of the elements that are found in the cytoplasm will be broken down and then used by specific organelles.

An example of this is glucose, which can’t be used by the mitochondria organelle. However, once the cytosol in the cytoplasm breaks it down, the molecules can be sent to the mitochondria for use.

In the past, scientists called all of the fluid in a cell protoplasm. They weren’t aware of the fact that there is special fluid inside the various organelles, which are different from the cytoplasm outside of the organelles.

Once they learned about the special fluids they also learned more about the job and function of cytoplasm.

The importance of cytoplasm

Cytoplasm may not be one of the most noticeable players in the study of cells, but it is definitely important for the health of cells in both plants and animals.

Cytoplasm not only maintains the ability for a cell to keep its size and shape, but it also acts as an easy road for organelles and molecules to move around inside the cell.

The thick gooey consistency helps to protect all of the organelles and it has chemical reactions that assist in breaking down waste as well as food for the survival of the cell. Without cytoplasm, the cell couldn’t exist.

Fun Facts about Cytoplasm

  • A different type of fluid – Cytoplasm is made up of around 80% water.
  • Cytoplasm seems to be everywhere – Cytoplasm fills up all of the spaces between the nucleus and the cell membrane. These spaces are also called “cell substance.”
  • Wait your turn – Besides letting organelles and molecules move around, cytoplasm also acts to hold them in place.
  • Ghostly references – Cytoplasm that surrounds the nucleus is called “endoplasm.” Cytoplasm close to the cell membrane is called “ectoplasm.” You might be familiar with the term “ectoplasm” as it is used in movies such as Ghost Busters, and yes, it is also gooey and jelly-like.
  • Cytoplasm by another name – There is cytoplasm inside the nucleus that is different than the cytoplasm outside the nucleus. Cytoplasm inside the nucleus is called “nucleoplasm.”
  • Pick your cytoplasm – Cytoplasm can actually be either watery or jelly-like, depending upon the activity within the cell.

Interesting Facts about Biology

  • Some plants create their own chemicals for defense but wait until they are attacked. This is because it takes up so much nutrition and energy to make the defense chemicals.
  • Conifers, such as pine trees, have leaves that are needle-shaped. These needles are very strong and tough and don’t dry out easily or blow off in high wind conditions. They have adapted this method so that they can survive in various weather including cold, dry, and windy.
  • Your heart is considered to be a muscle and it beats around 100,000 times each day.
  • Both fingernails and toenails are made of a substance called keratin, however, fingernails grow faster than toenails.
  • The acid in your stomach is designed to break down the food that you eat. Stomach acid is so strong that it can dissolve some types of metals.
  • When a human baby is born he/she has 270 bones. As the baby grows into adulthood, some of the bones fuse together so that an adult human has 206 bones.

Cytoplasm Quiz

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