Facts On Plant Cells

Filed under: Useful Information - 30 Apr 2013  | Spread the word !

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Cells are the fundamental units of life. All living organisms are composed of cells, which are needed for normal function. According to scientists, cells provide structure and stability, but they also provide energy to an organism. Cells are so small that they cannot be seen without magnification.

There are two primary types of cells known to exist. They are eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. Animals, plants and fungi are the best examples of organisms that include eukaryotic cells. So, the cell is the simplest unit of life, while the plant cell represents the crucial element for the existence of life. There are numerous interesting facts you should know about plant cells. Below you can read some of them.


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  • A plant cell is the structural and functional unit for all plant organisms.
  • There are millions of cells in an organism.
  • A plant cell is extremely small. It is only visible on a microscope.
  • As already mentioned, a plant cell can be included in the category of eukaryotic cells. These are the cells that have a well-defined nucleus.
  • There are some important differences between plant and animal cells. However, there are also some similarities worth to be known.
  • Plant cells have unique features that facilitate the process of photosynthesis. Through photosynthesis sunlight, water and carbon dioxide are transformed into energy, water and oxygen. This is an important process for the support of all forms of life.
  • The main function of a plant cells is to carry all processes that are needed to facilitate plant life.
  • The structure of the plant cell includes cellulose, chloroplasts, chlorophyll and vacuoles. Plasma membrane, nucleus, nucleolus and mitochondria are also included in the structure of a plant cell. The endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus and microtubules are other features of the plant cell.
  • Both plant and animal cells include nucleus, cell membrane and mitochondria, which are part of their structure.
  • There are two types of reproduction in plants. They can be asexual, when the cell splits in two, and sexual, when two cells combine to create one living cell.
  • Plant cells have cell walls in which they can store water.
  • Cell walls of plants are made up of cellulose, hemicellulose and pectin.


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So, there are both similarities and differences between plant and animal cells. They are both basic units of life, which compose all living organisms. However, plant and animal cells may have a different function and a different structure.

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Specialized Plant Cell Types

Filed under: Plant Cell Features,Uncategorized - 19 Mar 2013  | Spread the word !

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All plant cells are characterized by several common features, such as chloroplasts, a cell wall, and a large vacuole. These features also differentiate plant cells from animal cells. In addition, there is a number of specialized types of plant cells that are found only in vascular plants. These include parenchyma cells, collenchyma cells, and sclerenchyma cells.

1. Parenchyma cells

The term parenchyma is derived from the Greek word para, which means “beside”, and en + chein, meaning “to pour in”. Parenchyma cells are the biochemistry machines of the plant. They are usually described as the typical plant cell, because they are not very specialized. These cells are commonly found in leaves, roots, and stems, usually having a spherical shape with only primary cell walls and highly functional cytoplasm.


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Parenchyma cells play an important role in food storage, photosynthesis, and aerobic respiration, meaning that they synthesize and store organic products in the plant and are the place where most of the plant’s metabolism takes place. These cells are alive at maturity and are responsible for a wide range of biochemical processes. Most parenchyma cells have the ability to differentiate into other cell types under special conditions

2. Collenchyma cells

The term collenchyma is derived from the Greek word kola, meaning “glue”. Collenchyma cells have a support function in plants, particularly in young plants. They help to support plants while not restraining growth due to their lack of secondary walls and the absence of a hardening agent in their primary walls. This means that their main function is to provide support for parts of the plant that are still growing, such as the stem.


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Collenchyma cells form strands or continuous cylinders just below the surfaces of stems or leaf stalks. They are similar to parenchyma cells in the sense that they are alive at maturity. To better understand what collenchyma cells do, imagine a stretchable support, without elastic snap-back.

3. Sclerenchyma cells

The term sclerenchyma is derived from the Greek word skleros, which means “hard”. Sclerenchyma cells are the ones providing rigid support for the plant, because they have a hardening agent and are much more rigid. These cells develop an extensive secondary wall that is invested with lignin (the main chemical component of wood), making it extremely hard. Besides support, sclerenchyma cells have other functions, which include discouraging herbivory, and conduction.


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There are two types of sclerenchyma cells – fiber and sclereid. Fiber cells are long, slender cells that usually form strands or bundles. Sclereid, also known as stone cells, occur singly or in groups and have various forms. Most sclerenchyma cells are dead cells at maturity. Sclerenchyma cells cannot survive for long because lignin also makes the wall waterproof, therefore making it impossible for the cells to exchange materials long enough for active metabolism.

These are the main and most important types of specialized plant cells. Other specialized plant cell types include xylem, phloem, and epidermis cells.

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Plant Mechanics Inspire Engineers To Create New Materials

Filed under: Plant Cell Features - 21 Nov 2012  | Spread the word !

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Plants have a wide variety of mechanical properties that may inspire engineers to design new materials.
Lorna Gibson, the Matoula S. Salapatas Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT says:
‘If you look at engineering materials, we have lots of different types, thousands of materials that have more or less the same range of properties as plants. But here the plants are, doing it arranging just four basic constituents. So maybe there’s something you can learn about the design of engineered materials.”


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Engineers claim that some plants such as bamboo, maples, palm trees or potatoes inspire them, being a great example of precise engineering on a microscopic scale. The way their cell walls are arranged and what they’re made of, some plants may be sturdy as an oak, while others as flimsy as a reed.


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To Lorna Gobson, many cell walls’ components resemble certain manmade materials such as cellulose, hemicellulose, which can be strong and stiff as manufactured polymers. Additionally, cells in woods are aligned similarly to engineering honeycombs, while polyhedral cell configurations found in apples look like industrial foams.


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Gibson researched plants’ natural mechanics and focused on three main plant materials: oak, cedar and woods, parenchyma cells found in root vegetables and fruits and coconut trees. She and other scientists studies these plants and their cells and analyzed two main mechanical properties in each plant: strength and stiffness.

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The Parts Of A Plant Cell

Filed under: Plant Cell Features - 10 Oct 2012  | Spread the word !

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Plants are multicellular, eukaryotes organisms. They have membrane-bound organelles. A plant cell has a rigid cell wall, a central vacuole, plasmodesmata and plastids, which make it unique among all other type of eukaryotes cells. Plant cells sustain the photosynthesis process, during which oxygen is produced.

Plant cells are formed by different parts. All of them play an important role in the proper function of the cell.

1. Cell membrane

The cell membrane allows waste material to exit the cell. The membrane surrounds the cytoplasm of the cell. It actually forms a barrier between the inside of the cell and the outside area. The cell membrane regulates the movement of materials into and out of the cell. Having under consideration its function, the cell membrane is believed to be in a way similar to the skin.

2. Cell wall

The cell wall surrounds the cell. This is a rigid layer placed externally to the cell membrane. It offers structural support and protection to the entire cell. The cell wall also controls the amount of water that enters the cell. It allows the circulation of minerals and nutrients. The cell wall has the ability to sense the presence of pathogenic microbes, as well, being able to control the development of tissues within the cell.

3. Plasmodesmata

Plasmodesmata are microscopic channels of plants traveling the cell walls. It enables communication within the cell.

4. Tonoplast

The tonoplast surrounds a vacuole. Vacuoles are found in the cytoplasm, being membrane-bound compartments with storage functions.

5. Plastids

Plastids are some of the most important parts of the plant cell. They are responsible with photosynthesis, storage and synthesis.

6. Golgi Complex

Golgi complex is an organelle found in plant cells. It processes macromolecules, including proteins and lipids.

7. Chloroplast, Leucoplast, Chromoplast

Chloroplasts are organelles that conduct photosynthesis. They absorb light. Leucoplasts are plastids that are non-pigmented. Chromoplasts are plastids with role in pigment synthesis and storage.

8. Ribosome, Lysosome

Ribosomes are complexes of RNA and protein. Lysosomes are organelles which contain digestive enzymes.

9. Mitochondrion, Microtubule, Microfilament, Microbody

Mitochondrion is a membrane-enclosed organelle. Microtubules are components of the cytoskeleton. Microfilaments are the smallest filaments of the cytoskeleton. Microbodies are organelles of a globular shape.

10. Cytoplasm, Nucleus, Nuclear envelope

The cytoplasm is a semi-transparent fluid which fills cells. The nucleus contains the cell’s genetic material. The nuclear envelope is formed by two cellular membranes.


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Besides the aforementioned plant cell parts, DNA, chromatin and RNA should also be presented. DNA is the nucleic acid that contains genetic information, chromatin is a complex of DNA and protein, while RNA has an important role in translating genetic information from DNA to proteins.

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Insight on Plant Cells and Animal Cells

Filed under: Uncategorized - 27 Sep 2012  | Spread the word !

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Most cells are not visible with the naked eye. However, with microscopes of various types, plant cells can be readily viewed and studied. In young parts of plants and fruits, cell shapes are generally round, while in older sections, the cells are somewhat boxlike with up to 14 sides as they become packed together.

A cell, regardless if it belongs to a plant, animal or human, is generally defined as the structural and functional unit of life. Think of your school building. Each building is made up a number of classrooms. Each classroom has four walls. Each wall is made of bricks. Each brick is the smallest unit of your school building.

There are structural and functional differences between plants and animals. These are manifested in the form of plant cell and animal cell differences.


Plant Cell Diagram

 

 


Animal Cell Diagram

 

Let’s take a look at the main differences between a plant cell and an animal cell.

 

Other than the aforementioned differences between plant and animal cells, other organelles like nucleus, nucleolus, mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum and ribosomes are present in both plant and animal cells. The plant cell and animal cell differences discussed in the article are the major ones and are enough for us to appreciate the dissimilarities between plants and animals on the whole.

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Taking a Tour Inside A Plant Cell

Filed under: Plant Cell Features - 30 Aug 2012  | Spread the word !

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In order to properly understand the functionality and the features of the plants, we have to look inside these for answers. That is the main reason why biology classes focus on the presentation of the internal mechanisms of plants in the first place and then move on to larger views. To start with the minimal element of the plant, we have to consider the plant cell. Here is a video that illustrates a tour through the plant cell, from which you can understand its structure and its functionality:

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Relevant facts that should be remembered from the video:

  • plant cells and animal cells are somewhat the same, but there are differences between them that set them apart;
  • the cell wall is the first stratum of the cell, which includes and protects all its other elements, and is made from cellulose fibers;
  • the central vacuole regulates the composition of the cell plasm, creates internal pressure and stores different compounds;
  • the chloroplasts are the ones in which the photosyntheses process takes place, for the creation of food for the plant;
  • the mitochondria is the one that breaks sugar molecules and converts them.

If you are looking for more extensive information about the plant cells, that will reveal all there is to know about these, from their origins and evolution, to compositions, classifications and functions, here is a crash course video, which will surely help you understand more and which is presented in a way that will catch all your attention:

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Plant Cells are Important for Photosynthesis

Filed under: Plant Cell Features - 18 Jul 2012  | Spread the word !

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Cells are the fundamental units of life. Without them, plants, animals and human beings would not exist today. Whether they be unicellular or multicellular life forms, all living organisms are composed of and depend on cells to function properly. Think of it this way: without plants, animals would not have anything to eat and humans would not be able to breathe. In the whole biotope there are not two cells alike. Every cell has a specific role and functions according to certain parameters.

There are two main types of cells:

1. Prokaryotic cells. This type of cell lacks a cell nucleus or any other membrane bound organelles, and live in almost all the environments of the earth.

2. Eukaryotes contain complex structures enclosed within membranes. Most of the eukaryote cells contain DNA, chloroplasts and the Golgi apparatus. This type of cell can be found in complex organisms, such as animals, plants and fungi.


Comparison of Prokaryote and Eukaryote Cells

The Role of Each Cell in Plants

The plant cell provides an excellent starting point for understanding how this type of cell functions and the role it has in a living organism. As a plant grows and matures, each cell becomes specialised. There are a number of important specialised types of plant cells that function on a different level. Some of the most important cells in a plant are:

  • Parenchyma Cells. These cells synthesise and store organic products in the plant. These cells help the plant to go through the process of metabolism. 
  • Collenchyma Cells. These cells support the plant during its growth stage. They are important since they help the plant develop even it does not have the hardening agent in their primary walls.
  • Sclerenchyma Cells. These are the cells that help the plant to harden its walls and grow taller and stronger.
  • Water Conducting Cells. They have a support function in plants and represent the mechanism that helps water flow in the plant, in order to provide the necessary nutrients.
  • Sieve Tube Members are the ones that conduct important nutrients, such as sugar, all throughout the plant.

Metabolism of Plant Cells


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In order to stay alive people must provide their cells with the proper fuel – AIR. More specifically oxygen. This process has its roots in special plant cells called photosynthetic cells. These cells are found in green plants, phytoplankton and cyanobacteria. During the process of photosynthesis, cells use carbon dioxide and energy from the Sun to make sugar molecules and oxygen. These particular cells contain a special pigment that absorbs light energy. In the presence of carbon dioxide, these cells are able to convert solar energy into energy-rich organic molecules, such as glucose.

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Distinctive Features of the Plant Cell

Filed under: Plant Cell Features - 28 Jun 2012  | Spread the word !

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The cell is the basic structural and functional unit of all living organisms, being also the smallest unit of life classified as a living thing. There are two main types of cells: prokaryote and eukaryote. Eukaryotes are organisms whose cells consist of complex structures enclosed within membranes. All species of large complex organisms are considered to be eukaryotes, including plants, animals and fungi. However, the plant cell is quite different and has come distinctive features that makes it very interesting. In order to better understand and learn about it, the cell diagram is very useful, since it illustrates all the cell components. Unlike animal cells, plant cells have a large central vacuole, a cell wall, plasmodesmata, and plastids.

The large central vacuole is a structure filled with water and enclosed by a membrane known as the tonoplast. The vacuole is responsible for maintaining the cell’s turgor and for controlling movement of molecules between the cystol and sap. The vacuole also stores useful material and is in charge of waste proteins and organelles digestion. The cell wall is composed of cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, and sometimes lignin. The cell wall is secreted by the protoplast on the outside of the cell membrane. Plasmodesmata is a specialized cell to cell communication pathway through which the plasmalemma and endoplasmatic reticulum of surrounding cells are continuous. Probably the most interesting structures of plant cells are the plastids, mainly the chloroplasts. These contain the green colored pigment called chlorophyll which absorbs sunlight and is used by plants to make their own food. This process is called photosynthesis. There are also the chromoplasts, which are in charge of synthesizing and storing pigments. This is how plants get their colors.

Other organelles in the plant cell are cell membrane, nuclear membrane, leucoplast, Golgi apparatus, mitochondria, lysosomes, ribosomes, nucleus, cytoplasm, DNA, chromatin, RNA, cytoskeleton, and endoplasmatic reticulum. Each and every one of these organelles have their own role and ensure the well-functioning of the cell. There are several specialized plant cell types, such as parenchyma cells, collenchyma cells, sclerenchyma cells, water conducting cells, and sieve tube members. These cells become specialized as the plant matures. As you can see, plant cells are very interesting, especially as their distinctive features set them apart from both animal and fungi cells. With the Internet being at the tip of your fingers, learning more about them is very easy. Hopefully, this cell diagram will also help you in the learning process.

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The Vacuole Of A Plant Cell

Filed under: Useful Information - 10 Jun 2012  | Spread the word !

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The vacuole of a plant cell is one of its most important components. This is an organelle which has a membrane. It is an enclosed compartment of the cell which is filled with water. The water in the vacuole contains inorganic and organic molecules. A vacuole is formed thanks to the fusion of multiple membrane vesicles. It does not have a specific shape or a certain size, as it depends of the cell and on its specific needs. However, the vacuole has some functions, regarding the type of cell in which it is located. One of the main roles of it is to isolate the materials that may harm the cell. Keeping the water in the plant is also a “task” of the vacuole, as it is to keep in it the waste products of the cell. The internal hydrostatic pressure is an element that this organelle needs to handle in order to protect the cell. It also has to maintain an acid PH and to keep in it small molecules. The unnecessary substances of the cell are exported by it, because it needs to store the proteins.

Autophagy or the process in which the elements of a cell are degraded also has a lot to do with the vacuole, because it needs to ensure the perfect balance between the biogenesis and the turnover of substances in the structure of the cell. Recycling of proteins is another task of it and it happens while it offers aid in the lysis process that occurs inside the cell. Thomas Boller came up with a theory that says that a vacuole can easily destroy bacteria that invades a cell, while Robert B. Mellor affirms that it can house the symbiotic bacteria.

The vacuole existing in a plant cell occupies about 30% of the cell generally, but in certain situations it can expand to occupy up to 80% of it, if necessary. It is surrounded by tonoplast, which is also known in biology as vacuolar membrane. This substance surrounds and separates it from the cytoplasm. Its role is to regulate the movement of ions in the cell and to isolate substances that represent a threat to the cell. The vacuole is one of the most important components of the cell and if you plan to learn about it, you should focus mainly on its functions, which are very important.

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Information On Plant Cell Types

Filed under: Uncategorized - 09 May 2012  | Spread the word !

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Cells are considered to be the fundamental units to life, being contained by all living organisms. This means that equally plants and animals are going to need cells to function properly. For instance, according to researchers the human body is formed by more than 75 trillion cells, up to 100 trillion cells. In the lack of cells, life could not exist. Cells have a wide range of roles for the body, even though they are its smallest components. Cells provide structure, stability and energy to living organisms and sustain their normal function. They are of two main types: eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells.

Plant cells, such as animal cells, are eukaryotic cells. Naturally, the plant cell has its own types, associated to the evolution of the plant, in this context being highly important to know that the plant cell becomes specialized when the plant matures. Here are the most important plant cell types you should know to better understand the way these organisms function and the important role that cells have. One of the primary plant cell types is the parenchyma cell. This cell has the main role of synthesizing and storing organic products into the plant. On the other hand, collenchyma cells have as a role supporting function in plants.

In plant cell types of mature plants you are also going to find sclerenchyma cells, having as well support in function. Water conducting cells are some of the most important ones when talking about the composition of a plant cell. Sieve tube members are going to conduct organic nutrients throughout the plant, being vital for the normal function of each organism. Another fact about plant cell types you have to understand is that plant tissue may be formed by a single cell type, but also by a complex of cells. Some plant cell types have their main role in synthesizing and storing organic product, as you already found out, but there also are plant cell types which are specialized in transporting nutrients throughout the whole plant. Each plant cell type may be vital in performing various functions, which can turn out to be a must for the survival of all organisms. 

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