Facts about Mitochondria

Mitochondria are known as the powerhouse of the cell.

What are Mitochondria?

Mitochondria are a double-membrane-bound, bean-shaped, colourless organelle found in all types of aerobic organisms such as plants, animals and other eukaryotic organisms. They are free-floating organelles found within the cytoplasm, which functions as a digestive system of the cell. They play a major role in breaking down the nutrients and generating energy-rich molecules for the cell. Several biochemical reactions associated with cellular respiration take place within the mitochondria.

The term ‘mitochondrion’ was derived from a Greek word which means threadlike granules and was first described by German pathologist -Richard Altmann in the year 1890.

According to studies and research, the mitochondria cell organelles are normally inherited exclusively from the mother. There are more interesting and unbelievable facts about mitochondria, which have been described below pointwise.

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Interesting Facts about Mitochondria


Mitochondria are called the powerhouse of the cell, as these cell organelles are responsible for producing ATP molecules, the energy currency of the cell.


Mitochondria are rod-shaped, double-membrane cell organelle, with a distinct structure and specialized functions. These organelles are found in both animal cells and plant cells where they produce energy for cellular activities.


Mitochondria are also able to manufacture their proteins with the help of their own ribosomes.


The total number of mitochondria in a cell varies with their energy requirement. Cells that require more energy to complete their metabolism will have especially high numbers of mitochondria.


Muscle cells are the only cells with a high number of mitochondria. This is mainly because the muscles require more energy for their mobility and other muscular activities. The required energy is supplied by the mitochondria.

Explore more: Metabolism and Metabolic Pathways


The programmed cell death, also called Apoptosis, generally begins in mitochondria. Other specialized functions include apoptosis, controlling the cell cycle, cell growth and detoxifying ammonia in the liver cells.


Any irregularity in the functioning of mitochondria can have a direct effect on human health. The symptoms of mitochondrial disorders vary from person to person. Alpers disease and Barth syndrome are examples of mitochondrial disorders.


Mitochondria are quite similar to some bacteria. Because these cell organelles have their own DNA located in the matrix and they also comprise a double-layered membrane composed of lipids, just like a prokaryotes membrane.


The total number of mitochondria per cell varies. Red blood cells are the only cells in the human body which lack mitochondria. Other cells including liver cells and muscle cells comprise hundreds to thousands of mitochondria.


The size and shapes of mitochondria vary with their functions. Based on the energy requirement by the cells, mitochondria change shapes and respond quickly. When the cell needs more energy, the mitochondria reproduce by growing larger and then dividing. When the cell needs less energy, some mitochondria become inactive or die.

Also Refer: Structure of Mitochondria

This article concludes an introduction to mitochondria and its amazing facts. To know more about mitochondria and other related topics and important questions, keep visiting our website at BYJU’S Biology.

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