Difference between Plant and Animal Vacuoles

Vacuoles are membrane-bound cell organelles seen in plants and fungi. Some bacterial, protist and animal cells also have vacuoles. They usually maintain the hydrostatic pressure within the cell.

Plant Vacuole

The plant vacuoles are larger in size and occupy approximately 90% of the cell space. They are one huge structure that is surrounded by a tonoplast. This tonoplast avoids the intermixing of substances from the cytoplasm. The vacuole acts as an organelle that maintains the turgor pressure of the cell. Also, they store water, metabolites and nutrients. Their function is significant in plant cells as they cannot move to find nutrients and water. Thus, plant cells have larger vacuoles than animal cells.

Animal Vacuole

The animal cell has several small and scattered vacuoles. They usually contain fluid and food. They are temporary structures of less significance. They aid in the endocytosis and exocytosis processes. Their main function in animal cells is osmoregulation, storage, excretion and digestion. Moreover, there are also animal cells with no vacuoles.

Explore: Lysosomes

Difference between Plant and Animal Vacuoles

Plant Vacuoles

Animal Vacuoles

Plants have large vacuoles. Animals have small-sized vacuoles.
They have one large central vacuole. They have two or more small vacuoles.
All mature plants have vacuoles. The occurrence of animal vacuole is less.
They store the plant sap. They store water, ions and nutrients.
They are permanent structures. They are temporary structures.
They also maintain the rigidity and turgidity of the cell. They assist in the endocytosis and exocytosis processes.

Also Read: Endocytosis and Exocytosis

Frequently Asked Questions on Difference between Plant and Animal Vacuoles


What are the different types of vacuoles?

The three different types of vacuoles are gas vacuoles, contractile vacuoles and food vacuoles. Gas vesicles or gas vacuoles are seen in certain bacterial species to control their buoyancy. Many protists have contractile vacuoles as osmoregulatory organelles. Food vacuole is also seen in protists.


Why are vacuoles important?

They act as a storage organelle that stores water, ions and nutrients. Also, they maintain the rigidity and turgor of the cell. They also isolate the contaminants or waste products. Most animal cell vacuoles play subordinate roles in larger life processes.

Extended Reading: Vacuoles

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