Identifying plant cells is a bit easier because they have cell walls that are made of “cellulose”, which is thick and rigid. Animal cells don’t have that same kind of protective area.
Plant cells have different types of organelles that make them function than animal cells. Their organelles are called “vacuoles” which are filled with water and green chloroplast. The chloroplast is the critical matter that is required for plant cells to convert sunlight into energy that they need.
The process of converting light into their energy or food is called “photosynthesis” and every part of the plant cell is devoted to ensuring total efficiency. Inside the chloroplast organelle is chlorophyll and this gives the green color to plants.
Plant cells have evolved to their current condition over millions of years. Scientists believe that the first cells were extremely simple structures and didn’t even have a nucleus.
These cells still exist today and are called “prokaryotes.” When one of these prokaryotes literally “ate” another one, the one that was eaten became the nucleus and they learned to survive together.
As time passed, an entirely new type of cell was created that had a nucleus inside a membrane. These cells are called “eukaryotic” cells and they eventually created the rigid wall of the cell along with the function of turning sunlight into energy.
These are the plant cells that we have today.
Plant cells convert sunlight by a process called “photosynthesis” which breaks apart carbon dioxide and gives off oxygen. The oxygen is critical for all of us and animals to breathe.
Plant cell parts and their jobs
Plant cells contain a lot of parts or “organelles”, and each one has a specific job to accomplish to make sure the cell is healthy. Here is a list of organelles in alphabetic order. As you read through each of the organelles, you will begin to understand the critical role that everything plays to ensure good function:
- Cell membrane: The enclosure around the cell that controls molecules that are allowed to leave and enter the cell.
- Cell Wall: The major barrier that protects plant cells.
- Chloroplast: Uses photosynthesis to convert sunlight into the energy that a plant cell need.
- Cytoplasm: Is the main method of helping to hold all of the plant cell organelles together.
- Cytoskeleton: Just as it sounds, this is the skeleton or structure for cell support.
- Endoplasmic reticulum: This makes and moves all of the chemical compounds both from and to the nucleus.
- Golgi apparatus: It has the power to change fats and proteins inside the cell and gets them ready to move outside of the cell or to store them.
- Lysosomes: This is the cell’s “waste management” system. It breaks down the waste into compounds that are simpler for use by other organelles.
- Mitochondria: This changes the oxygen brought into the cell into energy and nutrients.
- Nucleus: This is kind of like the “brain” of the cell because it manages all of the activities of the cell as well as being the home of the DNA.
- Peroxisomes: Important for cell health, this takes toxic materials that enter the cell and digests them.
- Plasmodesmata: Gives the ability to move material as well as communication to nearby cells.
- Ribosomes: A protein builder for use by the cell.
- Vacuole: Maintaining a balanced PH level inside the cell and stores waste products.
- Vesicle: Assists in enzyme storage and moves materials around inside the cell.
Fun Plant Cell Facts
- Plant cells are unique – Plant cells are the only known things on earth that can produce their own food by themselves.
- Animals and plants are interdependent – The process of photosynthesis leaves oxygen that plants give off into the atmosphere. Animals and most of earth’s life depend on that oxygen to live.
- Plants aren’t greedy about sunlight – Of all of the energy that we get from the sun, 1/6th is used by plants and the rest goes to animals and humans in the forms of carbohydrates, sugars, and the various foods that are eaten.
- Plant cells convert light into food – Plant cells use photosynthesis to convert sunlight into their energy. This conversion involves changing carbon dioxide and water into sugar and carbohydrates that become the plant’s food.
- Plant cell walls are watertight – Most plants need a lot of water to survive. They take in or absorb the water in great quantities and this makes them expand. However, the rigid cell wall of plant cells keeps the cells to their original shape.
- Plant food is our food – The sugars and carbohydrates that are made by plant cells are also the foods consumed by animals when we eat the plants.
Interesting Facts about Biology
- The human nose has the ability to “remember” over 50,000 scents.
- Once someone reaches the age of 18 years, your brain stops growing.
- An infant human baby has more bones in its body than an adult human.
- Smiling is a lot easier than frowning. Smiling only takes 17 muscles compared to the 43 muscles required to frown.
- Antibiotics will not kill viruses; only antiviral drugs can kill a virus.
- There are three types of eaters: herbivores, that eat primarily plants; carnivores, that eat primarily flesh or meat; and omnivores, that eat both plants and meat.
Plant Cell Quiz
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