The Plant Cell Parts and Functions

While the basic goal of any cell is to provide the services necessary to maintain an organism’s life, there are large differences in human and plant cell parts and functions. Plant cells are identified as such due to the inclusion of several specific plant cell structures that do not exist in any other type of organism. Most of these cell parts are related to the ability of a plant to convert sunlight into energy, a process known as photosynthesis. It is this method of deriving energy that makes plants different from other type of organisms. Animals, viruses, and other forms of life use other methods of gaining the necessary energy for survival.

The different cell parts are essential to the plant cell functions. One such part is the cell wall. While most other organisms feature only a cell membrane, a plant cell also has a rigid cell wall that keeps all the interior parts safe and in a certain position. The function of a cell wall is to protect the plant and provide a firm shape to the whole organism. Another important cell part that aids in the plant cell functions is chloroplast. This is the part of a cell where photosynthesis happens. Photosynthesis is the main survival function of a plant and the reason for its existence. Inside the chloroplast is a green substance known as chlorophyll. This substance is what changes the energy of the sun into food that the plant can process for nourishment. This energy is transmitted in the form of photons and is transferred into sugars by splitting water molecules. The oxygen that is released is how the many animal organisms of the world are able to breathe. A plant generally will only use about 16% of the food it produces. The rest is stored, causing plant growth and nutrition for animals that eat the plants. In addition to the parts that assist function of plant cell operations, other parts that are also found in human cells are the nucleus and cytoplasm that extends from the nucleus to the cell membrane.

Also similar to the cellular structure of an animal, there are different types of plant cells that carry out specific functions within the organism. One such type of plant cells is epidermal cells. These are often the outer layer of plant cells and guard the rest of the organism by determining which substances are allowed to enter the plant and which are rejected. In a structure such as a leaf, there are a number of holes, called stomata, to allow the introduction of materials. The presence of the epidermal cells protect harmful substances and pathogens from entering the plant through the stomata. Another of the various types of plant cells is parenchyma cells. These cells are found in all areas of the plant, from roots to leaves, and are where the majority of photosynthesis happens. Generally unspecialized, parenchyma cells have a much thinner cell wall and large vacuoles. Plant cell parts and functions may differ from that of humans and other animals, but they are simply an alternative method to providing sustained life.

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    April 2014
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