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Biology > Cell the Unit of Life > Vacuole Function – Definition and Structure
Cell the Unit of Life

Vacuole Function – Definition and Structure

Introduction to Vacuole Function

We all have studied the cell in detail and understand how it has different parts. Each part is equally important for carrying out their particular functions. Furthermore, the vacuole function is important for both plant and animal cells.

Moreover, vacuoles are present in both plant and animal cells. You will see how vacuole function helps in maintaining the smooth functioning of the cell.

vacuole function

Definition of Vacuole Function

Vacuoles are a kind of microscopic cellular structure named organelle. They can be found in both cells of plants and animals. Moreover, you will see that in plants cells, they are larger and take up a great space inside the cell.

Furthermore, we see that the cells of animals don’t necessarily have vacuoles all the time. In fact, most of these don’t have large ones because of disruption to the smooth functioning of the cell. Vacuole function is essential for cells.

Structure of Vacuoles

We can refer to a vacuole as a type of organelle named vesicle. The major difference between a vacuole and a vesicle is the size and longevity. A single membrane called the tonoplast surrounds it.

This membrane of the vacuoles resembles the structure of the plasma membranes surrounding every cell. Thus, similar to the plasma membrane, the tonoplast helps in regulating the inflow and outflow of molecules and microbes with protein pumps and protein channels. It does the duty of a guard monitoring what type of matter is allowed passage to and from the vacuoles.

Moreover, they can also change their shape and size to cater to the needs of the cell. For instance, the vacuole in plant cell takes up almost 30 to 90% of the area within the cell, but this amount keeps changing to support the requirements of the plant.

Vacuole Function in Cell

While vacuole function is present in both the cells, it is quite crucial to plant cells. However, the common functions it performs in both the cells are for storage of water.

Further, it also removes the improperly folded proteins from the cell. Other than that, it provides a barrier for the substances which must be separated from the rest of the cell. In addition, it also removes or destroys the toxic substances to guard the cell.

Next, if we particularly look at the vacuole function in plants cells, we will notice how it is so significant here. Plants utilize vacuoles in a different manner than animals. For instance, they help it in growing upward from stalks to reach sunlight and get energy.

Moreover, it also assists in stabilizing the cell in the duration of growth of the cell. In addition, it maintains the cell structure.

Further, the vacuoles present in animal cells are also of great importance. They are small in size and mostly offer transportation in and out of the cell for several organic substances.

The two types of transportation carried out by vacuoles are exocytosis and endocytosis. The former means moving substances out of the cell and the latter refers to bringing in organic matter in the animal.

Moreover, vacuoles safeguard animals from illnesses and danger. It does so by bringing in the bacteria and microbes in cells shielding the rest of it.

Meanwhile, the enzymes present in the vacuoles break down these hazardous pathogens to protect them. Thus, you can say it helps in keeping the animal healthy and fit.

Solved Question for You

Question– What is the name of the membrane surrounding vacuole?

A. Cytoplasm
B. Plasma membrane
C. Tonoplast
D. Mitochondria

Answer– The correct answer is option C.

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