Protoplasm Definition

Protoplasm is defined as the organic and inorganic substances that constitute the living the nucleus, cytoplasm, plastids and mitochondria of the cell.

Read on to explore what is protoplasm, components of protoplasm and its important functions.

What is Protoplasm?

Protoplasm is a jelly-like substance known to be the living part of the cell. The term was proposed in 1835 and was known as the primary substance responsible for all the living processes.

It was believed that cell were containers of protoplasm. However, the concept could not explain the origin of structures formed within the cell, primarily the nucleus.

Components and Functions Of A Protoplasm

The cytoplasm is the first component of protoplasm. It is present between the cell membrane and the nucleus in a eukaryotic cell. All the organelles are found here. It maintains the cell environment. A cytoplasm maintains the shape of cells and also stores substances required by the organelle.

The nucleus is the second component of the protoplasm. The genetic material of an organism is present in the nucleus. Ribosomes are also found in the nucleus, which are essential for the production of proteins in the cell. Prokaryotes contain a nucleoid instead of a nucleus where all the genetic information is found.

Proteins, fats, enzymes, hormones, all make up the protoplasm. These are either dissolved or suspended in the water component of the protoplasm.

Also read: Cell Organelles

Protoplasm Vs Cytoplasm

The below-mentioned points explain the important differences between protoplasm and cytoplasm:

Protoplasm Cytoplasm
It is the living substance of the cell surrounding the cell membrane, nucleus, and cytoplasm. The substance present between the cell membrane and the nucleus.
Contains cytoplasm and the nucleus. Contains cell organelles like Golgi bodies, endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria, ribosomes, but no nucleus.
Thick, translucent fluid composed of lipids, carbohydrates, inorganic salts, and nucleic acids. Jelly-like fluid containing water, proteins and metabolic wastes.

More details on Difference Between Cytoplasm And Protoplasm

The term “Protoplasm” is archaic and not used in modern biology anymore. Instead, cytoplasm, nucleus and organelles are more relevant.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is protoplasm?

Protoplasm is a mixture of small molecules such as ions, monosaccharides, amino acid, and macromolecules such as proteins, polysaccharides, lipids, etc.

2. What is the primary function of protoplasm?

Protoplasm contains the genetic material of a cell. It also controls the activity of the cell.

3. Who coined the term protoplasm?

J.E. Purkinje coined the term protoplasm.

4. What is the difference between a protoplast and a protoplasm?

Protoplasts are isolated cells devoid of the cell wall. It is bounded by plasmalemma. On the contrary, protoplasm is a complex, translucent substance that contains living matter of plants and animals.

5. Is cell membrane a part of protoplasm?

Protoplasm comprises the living part of the cell. It includes cytoplasm, nucleus and other organelles. Protoplasm is enclosed within the cell membrane, but itself is not a part of protoplasm.

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