Plant cells are a eukaryotic cell that differs in several key factors from the cells of other eukaryotic organisms. These cells include a nucleus. Both plant cells and animal cells contain eukaryotic cells along with similar organelles. One of the distinctive aspects of a plant cell is the presence of a cell wall present outside the cell membrane. The main function of the cell wall is to provide rigidity and support.
Cell Structure and Function
Plants have a distinct lifestyle when compared to animals. These differences are probable when the structure of the cell is examined. Photosynthesis is a process wherein plants make their own food. It involves intake of water and carbon-dioxide which is later converted into sugars. This unique feature of a plant cell can be observed in the below diagram.
The Cell Wall: It is a rigid layer that made up of cellulose. It is located outside the cell membrane. It comprises of protein, polysaccharides and cellulose. The primary function of the cell wall is to protect and provide structural support to the cell.
The formation of the cell wall is guided by microtubules. Some cell also comprises of the secondary cell wall. It contains lignin and a secondary cell wall. The primary cell wall is formed by cellulose laid down by enzymes.
Plastids: They are membrane bound articles that comprise of own DNA. They are necessary to store starch, to carry out the process of photosynthesis and in the synthesis of many molecules that are required for cellular building blocks. Some of the vital types of plastids and their functions are stated below:
- Leucoplasts: They are found in non-photosynthetic tissues of plants. They are used for the storage of protein, lipid and starch.
- Chloroplasts: It is an elongated organelle comprising chlorophyll. The chlorophyll absorbs light energy from the sun and uses it to carbon dioxide and water to form food for the plant.
- Chromoplasts: They are heterogeneous, plastids organelle that is responsible for pigment synthesis. They are also used for storage in photosynthetic eukaryotes.
Nucleus: It is a membrane-bound structure. The vital function of a nucleus is to store DNA or hereditary material which include cell division, metabolism, and growth.
- Nucleolus: It manufactures cell’s protein-producing structures and ribosomes.
- Nucleopore: Nuclear membrane is perforated with holes called as nucleopore that allows proteins and nucleic acids.
The Central Vacuole: It occupies around thirty percent of the cell’s volume in a mature plant cell. Tonoplast is a membrane that surrounds central vacuole. The vital function of central vacuole apart from storage is to sustain maintain turgor pressure against the cell wall. The central vacuole consists of cell sap. It is a mixture of salts, enzymes and other substances.
Chloroplast: The chloroplasts is enclosed by phospholipid membrane. It is involved in the process of photosynthesis. The shape of the chloroplast varies. The stroma is the fluid within the chloroplast that comprise a circular DNA.
Types of Plant Cell
Cells of a matured plant become specialised to perform certain vital functions that are essential for survival. Some plants cells are used for transferring nutrients and some are used for storing food. Beneath are some of the specialised plant cells.
- Collenchyma Cells: It acts as a supporting system to a plant when there is a restraining growth in a plant due to lack of hardening agent in primary walls.
- Sclerenchyma Cells: These cells are more rigid compared to collenchyma cells. Sclerenchyma cells consist of a hardening agent and their main function is to support the plant.
- Parenchyma Cells: These cells are used to store organic products in a plant.
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