<< Eukaryotes | Unique Properties of Plant Cells
Plant Cells have a number of important differences compared to their animal counterparts. The major ones are the Chloroplasts, Cell walls and Vacuoles. Unlike animal cells, plant cells do not have centrioles.
The chloroplasts are an organelle similar to the mitochondria in that they are self reproducing and they are the energy factories of the cell.they are near the large center vacuole. There most of the similarities ends. Chloroplasts capture light energy from the sun and convert it into ATP and sugar. In this way the cell can support itself without food.
Plants often have large structures containing water surrounded by a membrane in the center of their cells. These are vacuoles and act as a store of water and food (in seeds), a place to dump wastes and a structural support for the cell to maintain turgor. When the plant loses water the vacuoles quickly lose their water, and when plants have a lot of water the vacuoles fill up. In mature plants there is usually one large vacuole in the centre of the cell.
Plant cells are not flaccid like animal cells and have a rigid cell wall around them made of fibrils of cellulose embedded in a matrix of several other kinds of polymers such as pectin and lignin. The cellulose molecules are linear and provide the perfect shape for intermolecular hydrogen bonding to produce long, stiff fibrils. It is the cell wall that is primarily responsible for ensuring the cell does not burst in hypotonic surroundings.