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Difference Between Plasma Membrane and Cell wall

Plasma Membrane is a type of phospholipid layer available in all types of cells. It protects the protoplasm and checks the passage of molecules inside the cell. Whereas the cell wall is found in the plant cell, fungi, bacteria only. It protects the cell from the external shocks, and also provide rigidity and shape to the cell. Therefore, the cell wall is the outermost boundary of the cell, on the other hand, the plasma membrane is present in the inner lining of the cell. Also, the plasma membrane is a delicate thin layer, but the cell wall is the thick and rigid layer. Thus we can say that both are doing protection, but still, there is a difference between the plasma membrane and the cell wall. This article will present the difference between Plasma Membrane and Cell wall in a tabular manner.

What is Plasma Membrane?

Plasma Membrane is also termed as Cell Membrane. It is found in all types of cells and is selectively permeable. It means it does not allow every kind of material to enter into the cell. Therefore, it is also popular for controlling the traffic of the molecules inside the cell. Also, they are responsible for maintaining the constant internal environment in the cell cytoplasm. It is present below the cell wall and if the cell wall is not present, then it acts as the outer layer.

The plasma membrane layer is thin and of the fragile structure of size only 5-10nm only. It is visible in the light microscope. It facilitates cell-cell communication through the receptor which is present on the outer layer of the membrane. Also, it is metabolically active and living and protects the protoplasm and its internal environment.

What is Cell Wall?

As its name suggests, it is the outermost layer of the plant cell, fungal, and bacterial cell. But, it is not present in the animal cells. So, in animal cells, the plasma membrane act as an outermost layer of the cells. The plant cell wall is made up of cellulose, on the other hand, the fungal cell is made up of chitin. And the bacterial cell is made up of peptidoglycan. The cell wall is a very rigid and thick structure of 4 to 20 um and is visible through the light microscope.

Difference between the Plasma Membrane and Cell wall

Difference between Plasma Membrane and Cell wall

                                                            Difference between Plasma Membrane and Cell wall

The important difference between Plasma Membrane and Cell wall

Presence It is present in all types of cells. It is present in the plant cell, bacteria, fungi, and algae.
Composition It is made up of lipids and proteins and carbohydrates. It is made up of cellulose (plant cell), chitin (fungi), and peptidoglycan (bacteria).
Structure It is thin layers and is visible only through the electron microscope. It is thick layers that are visible through the light microscope.
Permeability It is Semi-permeable. It is fully permeable.
Receptors These have receptors, helps in cell-cell communication. These don’t have receptors.
Metabolic function These are metabolically active and living. These are inactive and non-living.
Nutrition These have a need for proper nutrition to survive. These don’t need any nutrition from cells but deposition instead.

FAQs on the Plasma Membrane and cell wall:

Q.1: What is some similarities between the Plasma Membrane and cell wall:


  1. Give shape to the cell.
  2. Provide support and rigidity to the cell.
  3. Regulate the incoming and outgoing of the molecules.
  4. Both provide protection.

Q.2: What are the functions of the plasma membrane?


  1. It protects protoplasm.
  2. It separates the components present inside to outside environment.
  3. Helps for cell-cell communication.
  4. It passes the molecules.
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3 responses to “Difference Between Bryophytes And Pteridophytes”

  1. Galadima says:

    thanks for in lighting us

  2. Olatunji Akinola says:

    Thanks for lighting me more this aspect

  3. Nneka chinedu says:

    Thanks for enlightening me more on this

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