Parts of Plant Cells

By Michael Baker
Parts of Plant Cells
Public Domain Image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Plant_cell_structure_svg.svg

Both plant and animal cells contain numerous organelles, specialized parts similar to organs in the body that allow them to function. Some of these organelles are unique to plant cells, giving plants their structure and capability to produce their own food.

Chloroplast

The organelle chloroplast contains chlorophyll, one of the most critical elements of plant cells. These allow photosynthesis, a plant's conversion of light into food, and give plants their green color.

Cell Wall

Unlike animal cells, plant cells have thick, rigid membrane surrounding them called a cell wall. This allows them to maintain structure and bond with other cells.

Vacuole

Vacuoles are tiny, fluid-filled holes within a cell. Most plant cells contain a single central vacuole that stores critical compounds that promote growth.

Mitochondria

Both plant and animal cells contain mitochondria, an organelle containing energy-producing enzymes. In plant cells, they convert sugar and carbohydrates to energy, particularly as a back-up when light is not available for the chloroplasts.

Amytoplasts

Amytoplasts, found only in certain plant cells such as potatoes and fruits, provide yet another energy source for the plant. They can store starch granules and convert them into sugars for energy.

About the Author

Michael Baker has worked as a full-time journalist since 2002 and currently serves as editor for several travel-industry trade publications in New York. He previously was a business reporter for "The Press of Atlantic City" in New Jersey and "The [Brazoria County] Facts" in Freeport, Texas. Baker holds a Master of Science in journalism from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn.