Vacuole and its Functions
Vacuole is mostly defined as a storage bubble which is found in cells. These vacuoles might store food or any variety of nutrients a cell might need to survive, not only this but vacuoles can even store waste products so that the rest of the cell is protected from contamination. Although eventually, those waste products are sent out of the cell.
In plant cells vacuoles are much larger than in animal cells. When a plant cell has stopped growing, there is usually one very large vacuole. Sometimes that vacuole can take up more than half of the cell’s volume. The vacuole holds large amounts of water or food. Don’t forget that vacuoles can also hold the plant waste products. Those waste products are slowly broken into small pieces that cannot hurt the cell. Vacuoles hold onto things that the cell might need, quite like a bag and also sometimes the waste products.
Structure of Vacuole
The structure of vacuoles is considered to be fairly simple. We start with the membrane that surrounds a mass of fluid, in which there are nutrients or waste products. Plants may also use vacuoles to store water. These very same tiny water bags help to support the plant and they share a bond with the objects called vesicles that are found throughout the cell.
One of the most important function of a vacuole is support other than storage. As in, vacuoles play an important role in plant structure. We all know that plants use cell walls to provide support and surround cells, but you see the size of that cell may still increase or decrease depending on how much water is present. Same vacuoles gain and lose water depending on how much water is available to the plant. A drooping plant indicates that it has lost a lot of its water and the vacuoles are shrinking. It still maintains its basic structure because of the cell walls. When the plant finds a new source of water, the vacuoles takes up the role of storage once again, gets refilled and the plant regains its structure.
One point to be remembered is that most animal cells have vacuoles, but not all. Animals tend to use vacuoles for getting rid of water and waste materials.