Cells have been clearly defined as the building blocks of life. Now comes the cell membrane. The cell membrane happens to surround every cell you have ever come upon or studied. On the other hand cell, walls made of cellulose are only found around plant cells and a few other organisms. Now cellulose is a specialized sugar that is classified as a structural carbohydrate and not used for energy. The cell wall is specialized to protect the plant cell, the plant cell might be vulnerable to damage and outer objects but the cell wall forms a protective layer and helps keep it secure. Not only that but it also performs the duty of giving support while at the same time, protection is still provided.
Importance of Cell Wall
While cell walls protect the cells, they also allow plants to grow to great heights. As a human body grows, where do you think we derive our support from? The well-developed skeletal system. The tall trees we see all around us do not have a skeletal system. Hence, it uses the strong cell walls to maintain its shape, which does the dual act of providing support as well as protection. For overall support, dense cells in the core of the trunk can let a tree grow very high.
Cell walls are slightly elastic for smaller plants, leaves, and thin branches since it has to allow for growth. Winds can push them from side to side and they will generally bounce back unless attacked by tornadoes and hurricanes. But big trees require great strength and support. If you closely observe, one notices that the trunk of the tree never sways, it is only the top parts that sway with the wind.
To summarize, the cell wall is the outermost covering found in plant cells. Whereas, the cell membrane is the outermost covering of animal cells. The cell membrane is covered by the cell wall which forms the outermost covering. It is also known as the plasmalemma. The cell wall is completely permeable, made up of cellulose whereas cell membrane is semi-permeable and made up of lipids and proteins.
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