Difference between animal and plant cell

Les animal cells are those found in animals and plant cells they are the ones we can find in plants and algae.

Both cells are classified as eukaryotes, because they have a defined nucleus where the genetic material is stored. In addition, there is a plasma membrane, membranous organelles such as mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum, cytoplasm and cytoskeleton.

animal and plant cell

The main difference between animal and plant cells is the presence of one cell wall and chloroplasts in the plant cell. The following table summarizes the differences between these cells:

Animal cell Plant cell
Cellular wall Absent. Present.
Nutrition Heterotrophic. Autotrophic.
Vacuoles Small: they have one or more. A large central vacuole.
Centrioles Present. Absent.
Chloroplasts Absent. Present.
Plasma membrane Present. Contains cholesterol. Present. It does not contain cholesterol.
Energy storage Glycogen. Starch.
Plasmodesmata Absent. Present.
Glyoxisomes Absent. Present.

What is an animal cell?

The animal cell is a eukaryotic cell characterized by the presence of a nucleus, plasma membrane, and cytoplasm. It differs from the plant cell by the absence of cell wall and chloroplasts. In addition, smaller and more abundant vacuoles can be found compared to those of a plant cell.

Animal cells they can take many forms. They are also able to capture and pair other structures.

Some of the most prominent animal cells are neurons of the nervous system, leukocytes of the immune system, eggs and sperm of the reproductive system.

Characteristics of the animal cell


The nutrition of animal cells is heterotrophicwhich means they need to get nutrients and energy from the organic matter of other living things.


The mitochondria is responsible for generating energy in the animal cell, through the process of cellular respiration. In this process, ATP is produced from glucose.

Mitochondria are equivalent to chloroplasts present in plant cells, as they are both responsible for producing energy.


The vacuoles look like sacks of water. In animal cells it is usually a lot numerous and small. Its function is to store water, ions and intracellular waste.


Cytokinesis is the division of the cytoplasm during cell division (mitosis or meiosis). In animal cells it occurs through a ring of actin filaments, which tightens the plasma membrane in half, separating two new cells.

Lysosomes and centrosomes

Animal cells have lysosomes, membranous organelles that are responsible for intracellular digestion. They also possess centrosomes, which are cylindrical structures involved in animal cell division, which are not found in plant cells.

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What is a plant cell?

The plant cell is a eukaryotic cell that is characterized by the presence of a cellular wall which gives it support and protection, while allowing cellular communication. This wall can be found in other types of eukaryotic cells.

Like the animal cell, it has a differentiated nucleus, membrane and cytoplasm.

However, the plant cell contains unique parts that are responsible for the process of photosynthesis. This is because it allows plants to release the oxygen that living things need to exist.

Characteristics of the plant cell


The nutrition of plant cells is autotrophic, so they are able to synthesize all the nutrients they need from inorganic material. That is, they are independent of other living things to obtain nutrients.


Chloroplasts present in plant cells are responsible for carrying out the process of photosynthesis, where sunlight is used as an energy source. This is possible with the help of chlorophyll, a substance present inside chloroplasts that absorbs sunlight.

These chloroplasts are located next to the membrane and measure approximately five micrometers.

Cellular wall

The most striking feature of plant cells is one cellular wall surrounding the plasma membrane. This wall is composed mainly of cellulose and can measure between 0.1-10 microns.

The cell wall gives protection, stability and rigidity to the plant cell.


Plant cells present a single large vacuole which can reach up to 90% of the cell.

Its function is to store water and maintain the turgidity of the cell. When the vacuole is empty the plant withers and loses stiffness.


In plant cells, after the division of the nucleus, an accumulation of vesicles of the Golgi apparatus occurs. These vesicles fuse and give rise to a new cell wall between the two cells.

Plasmodesmata and glyoxisomes

In plant cells are plasmodesmates, which are pores in the cell wall that allow molecules to pass between plant cells.

Glyoxisomes are organelles that are obtained only in plant cells. In these structures lipids are stored and degraded, mainly in seeds in the process of germination.

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