Difference Between Plant Cell and Animal Cell
A cell is the basic unit of life from which tissues and organs of the body are formed.
However, the plant has different living conditions than animals.
Plants are fixed at one location throughout life; they are exposed to harsh environments like rainfall, sunlight, cold, etc. Further, they do not have options to escape from predators.
Hence, plants along with their cells are designed in a way to suit these living conditions.
These cells control the birth, growth, reproduction and even death of the organism.
They differ a lot in terms of physiological function and their role.
Difference Between Plant cell and Animal cell
|Feature||Plant cell||Animal cell|
|Size||Are larger in size comparatively||Are smaller in size|
|Shape of cell||Mostly fixed, rigid and is rectangular in shape||Fixed but flexible due to no cell wall and shapes vary based on the cell types, tissue and other requirements|
|Cell wall||Is present and it gives them rigidity and protections||Cell wall is absent and also not required as animal have other protection means like running away to safety etc.|
| Cell organelles||Most cell organelles are similar but special ones include Chloroplasts present,||Chloroplasts are absent except in euglena|
|Dead cells||In plants dead cells get hardened with age and the inner content are lost while only cell wall and thickening remain as part of the body||Dead cells are destroyed or digested and expelled from the body|
|Vacuoles||Single large vacuole present||Small but more than one vacuole present|
|Tissue types||Only three major tissues are present in plants like parenchyma, collenchyma, sclerenchyma. Besides there is meristem at tips.||Four tissue types like epithelial tissue, connective tissue, muscular tissue and nervous tissue.|
|Free moving cells||No plant cell is free to move within the body||Blood cells, sperms, ova in animals move freely in the define channels.|
|Centrioles||Centrioles help in cell to pull apart chromosomes. These are absent||Centrioles present and helps to organize spindles to pull chromosomes away|
|Plasmadesmata||Plasmadesmatae i.e. cell bridges connecting cytoplasm of adjacent cells present||Plasmodesmata absent and not necessary.|
|Photosynthesis||Green cells with chloroplast prepare their own food by photosynthesis||Animal cell always depends on other material for food.|
Plant cell phases: Based on their cell phases or life stages, The early cells are called parenchyma. These cells form tissues in plants and get differentiated to form newly formed tissues. This tissue and has great potential to grow.
The next stage of the cells is collenchyma. This collenchyma tissue has no potential to grow but has physiology and it has a very long life span. It is terminated by the next stage when cells convert to sclerenchyma.
The last stage of plant cell life is sclerenchyma. Sclerenchyma has only dead cells, but it is not removed from the plant body. Instead, it is used to give hardness and support to the plant.
This sclerenchyma cell is made hard due to deposition of dead substance namely lignin. It also supports other functions of the plant by being converted to xylem, phloem, etc. Here xylem is water conducting channel and phloem is food conduction channel to the whole plant. Since there is no circulatory system in plants, these channels serve the purpose.
So the trend in plant cell life is that parenchyma converts to collenchyma and then as they age they convert to sclerenchyma.
Animal cell phases: Animal cell has no such phases. They just are born, grow, perform normal physiology and die.
The dead ones are replaced by new cells. Dead cells are removed of the body unlike in plants.
Animal cells and plant cell are similar to a great extent in terms of structure and physiology. Plants have small variation like the presence of outer rigid cell wall, chloroplast for the synthesis of own food by the use of sunlight, presence of duct-like cell structures to move water and other essential elements through their large and long bodies, etc. Xylem is meant for water transport and phloem is meant for food transport. Their hormones that influence their physiology are different than animal’s cells.
Food: In animal cell, the food is supplied by some external source and transported by blood. So for food animal cells depend on some source while most plant cells synthesize their food.
Photosynthesis: This is a process by which cells synthesize their food to the availability of photosynthetic pigments. Plants cells, especially of leaves and other green colored areas, have chloroplasts in them by which they synthesize their food by photosynthesis in the presence of light.
Animal cells, on the other hand, do not have this pigment and mostly do not synthesize their food. However few protozoa like euglena have pigments by which they go for photosynthesis.
Excretion: waste of animal cell is removed from the cell and carried outside the body. The waste is mostly in liquid form and is expelled by some specialized organs like kidney; In a plant cell, the waste is stored inside the cell or in the vicinity of the cell. This is then stored as alkaloids or other waste like in leaves which wither away during monsoons. So the waste is eliminated as part of dead body organs.
Respiration: In both plants and animals respiration is by mitochondria and energy is from the combustion of carbohydrates in the presence of oxygen. For more details on respiration read article on mitochondria and its characters
Multiplication: Cells in both animals and plants multiply in their number by mitosis or meiosis. The difference is that mitosis gives rise to two new cells with the same genetic trends as parent cell while meiosis gives four cells with half of the genetic trait of the parent cell. Mitosis is for cell replacement while meiosis is for reproduction.
Cell death: In plant cells, the cells get signified with age and lose the internal contents. This adds strength to plant though the cell is dead. In animals, cell death results by apoptosis and necrosis.
Also, read more about animal cell facts.