Peroxisomes are organelles in both animal-like and plant-like cells.

While they perform similar jobs as the organelle mitochondria, unlike the mitochondria that has multiple membranes, peroxisomes have only one wall membrane that’s used to maintain its structure.

If you look under a high powered microscope you would notice that peroxisomes resemble the lysosome organelles.

The main job of peroxisomes is in the transformation of the nutrients sent to a cell into energy that the cell needs.

There are a lot of peroxisomes inside each cell and they have quite a few other jobs that they perform.

How many peroxisomes?

The quantity of peroxisomes in a cell depends entirely on the cell type and function.

There are a lot of peroxisomes in cells that support organs that work to detoxify or cleanse the body as well as in digestion such as kidney and liver cells.

Scientists have noted that there are few to none in any cells that aren’t involved in the digestion process and none at all in the red blood cells in our bodies.

Peroxisome Jobs

Turning food into usable energy is an important responsibility. When a cell collects nutrients, peroxisomes step in to break them down so that they are energy for the cell.

Most of the nutrients peroxisomes changes are “fatty acids.”  Peroxisomes act differently, depending upon the cell type.

In animal-like cells, mitochondria and peroxisomes work closely in the process of creating energy from fatty acids. However, in plant-like cells, peroxisomes work alone to break down the fatty acids.

Fatty Acid Break down

Changing fatty acids to energy is a complex process and peroxisomes accomplish this in two steps; each one creates energy for the plant or animal to make us of:

They first break the fatty acid down into hydrogen peroxide.

This part of their job is the reason that they have their name. This is a chemical that is toxic to the cell so the peroxisome absolutely has to accomplish the second step.

The next action is to break out the hydrogen peroxide into its individual elements of oxygen and water. These elements are used by the cell in other jobs, so nothing goes to waste.

Peroxisomes Adapt

One of the important things to remember about peroxisomes is that they are one of the few organelles that continue to grow. Once a peroxisome reaches a particular size it will divide into two smaller peroxisomes.

Peroxisomes are in a lot of locations in an organism to help in supplying energy. In plant-like cells peroxisomes are in the seed cells to give the cells energy for growth.

However, the peroxisomes found in leaf cells are responsible for the energy needed for photosynthesis. Peroxisomes also have additional duties in plant cells as they are responsible for the recycling of carbon.

Some types of specialized peroxisomes have been found in plants that have jobs involving converting fatty acids to carbohydrates.

The job of peroxisomes is to supply energy for whatever the need is for the cell and the organism.

Fun Facts about Peroxisomes

  • Peroxisomes are usually round or oval.
  • Without peroxisomes your body would build up toxic poisons very quickly and the cells wouldn’t survive.
  • Peroxisomes were discovered by Christian de Duve in 1965 when he used a centrifuge for his discovery. Known as the “explorer of the cell”, de Duve discovered new organelles, including lysosomes in 1955.
  • Scientists have studied peroxisomes for many years but still haven’t unraveled all of it functions and secrets.
  • Peroxisomes are key indicators of changes in their environmental or cellular conditions and respond by modifying their number, function, and size.

 Interesting Facts about Biology

  • Human bodies react with different immunity levels to certain diseases. This is why there are some people that you know that seem to get sick more than other people that you know.
  • 9 percent of each person’s DNA is exactly like every other persons on the earth. The 0.1% that is different is what makes each of us unique.
  • All hair is made up of “keratin”, which is a protein.
  • To protect your eye it has a clear layer in the front of the eye called the “cornea.”
  • Most types of moss prefer to grow in shady, damp areas.
  • The human body is made up of about 60% water.

Peroxisomes Quiz

Now let's test what you have learned!