A Comparison Between Animal Cells And Plant Cells

Plant cells are similar to animal cells, but they differ in some ways. What are those differences?

A Comparison Between Animal Cells And Plant Cells

Plants and animals are both living organisms that share many similarities. They both consist of cells, tissues, organs, and systems.

But plants lack a nervous system, blood vessels, bones, and muscles.

Plants and animals are both eukaryotes, meaning that they have nuclei, membranes, and other organelles. However, plants lack chlorophyll and therefore cannot photosynthesize.

Their metabolism is powered by sugars derived from sunlight.

Animals also lack chlorophyll and instead obtain energy from eating other organisms.

Plants and animals share many similar organs, including bones, teeth, hair follicles, glands, and blood vessels.

What Exactly Is A Cell?

Every living thing contains a single cell. That cell is the fundamental unit of all life. Cells contain DNA, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and other substances.

The cell membrane keeps everything inside, while allowing nutrients to enter and waste products to exit.

Each individual cell normally divides itself into two daughter cells, each of which takes on the same characteristics as its parent.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. Some cells can divide themselves into many daughter cells.

These cells are called multicellular organisms. Multicellular organisms consist of groups of cells that cooperate with each other and perform specialized functions.

For example, the skin is an organ composed of millions of cooperating cells.

What Are The Different Types Of Cells?

Cells are categorized into two types, prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Prokaryotic cells are simpler cells that lack nuclei and other organelles.

These cells are found in bacteria. Eukaryotic cells are complex cells that contain nuclei and organelles.

These cells are found in animals and plants.

Both plants and animals belong to the eukaryotic kingdom. However, there are major differences between them.

For example, plants are green and photosynthetic while animals are multicellular organisms that breathe air.

Animal Cells

Animal cells are composed of two main types: eukaryotic cells (like human cells) and prokaryotic cells (like bacteria). Eukaryotic cells contain a nucleus surrounded by membranes.

Prokaryotic cells don’t have a membrane around their nucleus. Instead, the cell is enclosed within a tough outer shell called a peptidoglycan layer.

Both plant and animal cells can grow and divide. However, unlike animal cells, plant cells do not need oxygen to live.

The walls of plant cells also contain cellulose. This substance gives plants their strength.

Animal cells produce energy through respiration. Plants use photosynthesis for this purpose.

During photosynthesis, green pigment molecules absorb light from sunlight and convert it into chemical energy.

Like all other living things, plants must eat food to survive. Animals get most of their nutrition from eating plants or other animals.

In contrast, plants obtain nutrients directly from the soil.

The DNA found inside every cell contains the genetic information needed to build an organism. All life on Earth has exactly the same type of DNA.

The only difference among different species is how much of the DNA is used. For example, humans have more than 3 billion base pairs of DNA, while mice have about 1 million base pairs.

Animals reproduce sexually. When sperm meets an egg, something happens to cause the egg to become fertilized.

After fertilization, the embryo divides rapidly until it becomes a full-grown baby.

In order to make sure that each new generation of offspring receives its own copy of genes, parents pass down copies of their genes to their children.

In sexual reproduction, this process takes place during meiosis. In vegetative reproduction, this process takes place during mitosis.

Table Showing The Absence Or Presence Of Cells In Animal And Plant Cells

Cell OrganellesAnimal CellPlant Cell
Cell WallAbsentPresent
Cell NucleusPresentPresent
Cell MembranePresent Present
Golgi ApparatusPresentPresent
Endoplasmic Reticulum PresentPresent
A Comparison Between Animal Cells And Plant Cells

Similarities Between Animal And Plant Cells

Cell walls are the main components of the plasma membrane. They provide structural integrity and protection against mechanical stress.

Plant cell walls contain cellulose microfibrils embedded in an amorphous matrix of hemicelluloses and pectins.

Animal cell walls consist of chitin microfibrils embedded within a matrix of proteins and glycoproteins.

Cell Nucleus

Eukaryotes are organisms whose cells contain a true nucleus. These organisms are called eukaryotes because their cells have a membrane-enclosed nucleus.

Eukaryotes are divided into two groups: prokaryotes and eukaryotes.

Prokaryotes lack membranes around their nuclei, while eukaryotes possess them.

Eukaryotes also differ from prokaryotes in many other ways, including the fact that they have an organized genome.

A eukaryote has a single mitochondrion inside its cell, whereas a prokaryote has multiple.

The nucleus is where the cell’s genetic material resides. Most cells have multiple nuclei. Some cells, such as red blood cells, have just one nucleus.

Cell Membrane

This membrane is made of proteins and lipids and serves as a boundary between the cell and its surroundings.

It allows certain molecules to pass through while keeping others out. It helps maintain the structure of the cell and keeps the cell functioning properly.


Mitochondria are cellular components that produce energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) through oxidative phosphorylation.

These are small membranous sacs located within the cytoplasm. The mitochondrion is surrounded by two concentric membranes.

The outer membrane is continuous with the endoplasmic reticulum, while the inner membrane contains the mitochondrial genome.

Mitochondria contain several copies of DNA encoding 13 subunits of the electron transport chain complexes.

These complex proteins are embedded in the inner membrane and catalyze the transfer of electrons from reduced substrates via electron carriers.

The electron flow results in the reduction of oxygen in the water.

The proton gradient across the inner membrane generated during electron transport drives the synthesis of adenosine diphosphate (ADP), which is then converted back to ATP.

Mitochondria are tiny structures located near the center of the cell. They produce energy in the form of ATP.


Ribosomes are tiny structures made out of ribonucleic acids (RNAs) and ribosomal proteins. Ribosomes are large protein factories that create proteins.

There are two types of ribosomes: prokaryotic and eukaryotic. Prokaryotes are bacteria, archaea, and other single-celled organisms.

Eukaryotes are cells like us that have a nucleus and membrane-bound organelles.

These organelles contain DNA and many enzymes that help create proteins. Ribosomes are responsible for synthesizing proteins.

Each ribosome contains an aminoacyl binding site, peptide transferase center, and exit tunnel.

Ribosomes also contain rRNA and ribosomal proteins that together form the structure of the ribosome.

Endoplasmic Reticulum

ER is made up of a network of membranous sacs and tubes. These are called cisternae.

The rough ER is responsible for protein production, while the smooth ER produces lipids and carbohydrates. Both of these networks contain ribosomes, which help produce proteins.

Endoplasmic reticula are long tubes that run throughout the cytoplasm. They help transport materials within the cell.

Golgi Apparatus

This is the place where the protein made inside the endoplasmic reticulum gets processed and modified before getting sent to other parts of the cell.

The Golgi complex is divided into different compartments, each dedicated to a particular function.

These compartments are important because they direct the flow of materials through the cell.

For example, when a vesicle containing a protein needs to get to the cell surface, it goes through the trans-Golgi network first.

Golgi’s bodies are small sacs filled with enzymes that break down substances taken up by the cell.


Vacuoles are found in every living cell. They store fluids and other materials within the cell. They also maintain turgor pressure.

Plant cells contain one large vacuole, while animal cells contain multiple smaller ones. These vacuoles help in the transport of substances across membranes.

Since they are not rigid, they change shape depending on what substance is stored inside them.

For example, if there is an increase in water, then the vacuole swells up. If there is a decrease in water, then the cell shrinks.

Plant cells are surrounded by a tough cell wall, which helps them withstand physical damage.

Plant cells also have chloroplasts, which help convert light energy into chemical energy. Chlorophyll is pigments found in chloroplasts that absorb red and blue wavelengths of light.

These pigments then transfer the energy absorbed through photosynthesis to carbon dioxide and oxygen.

Plants need these molecules to create carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and other important compounds.

Animals lack chloroplasts and instead store energy in the form of glycogen. Glycogen is stored in the liver and muscles of an animal.

When the body needs energy, it breaks down the glycogen into glucose.

Cell Structure

A cell is the smallest unit of an organism. Each cell consists of a nucleus, which holds the cell’s DNA, and a cytoplasm, which contains the cell’s organelles.


The cytoplasm is the fluid portion of the cell. It contains the cell’s organelles. Organelles perform specific functions in the cell.

These include mitochondria, ribosomes, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi bodies, lysosomes, centrioles, microtubules, and flagella.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we learned about the basic structure of cells. We discussed how cells are organized into tissues and organs.

We looked at some similarities and differences between plants and animals. We also learned about the various structures found in the cell.

This includes the nucleus, plasma membrane, cytoskeleton, and organelles.

Jennifer Dawkins

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