Cytoplasm – Its Structure and Functions

Cytoplasm is found in both plant and animal cells. It is necessary for cell growth and reproduction.

Cytoplasm is a gelatinous, semi – transparent  liquid that is found in both plant and animal cells.  It is bound by the plasma membrane.  It contains important organelles (subunits within a cell) in a eukaryotic cell.  The nucleus is separated from the cytoplasm by a double membrane.  This double membrane is also called nuclear membrane.  Cytoplasm is thick and semi – transparent.  Cytoplasm was discovered in the year 1835 by Robert Brown and other scientists. 


Cytoplasm contains organelles, cytosol and cytoplasmic inclusions.

  • Organelles: Cytoplasm contains organelles like lysomes, endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria and Golgi apparatus.  It contains chloroplast in plant cells.  Each organelle is bound by a fatty substance.  These organelles are necessary for the cell’s growth and reproduction.  
  • Cytosol: Cytosol is a gel like substance.  It makes for 54% of the cell volume.  It contains salt, water, enzymes, fatty acids, sugar, amino acids, ribosomes, and other organic molecules.  It also contains cytoskeleton filaments which give shape to the cell.
  • Cytoplasmic inclusions: These include substances like starch and glycogen which store energy.  Cytoplasm also contains some minerals and lipid droplets (contains lipids and proteins) .  


Cytoplasm is necessary for maintaining life.  This is where cell expands and replicates.  It assists movement of different elements within the cell.  The enzymes in cytoplasm breaks down molecules which can be used by other organelles.  Many biochemical reactions take place which are important for the upkeep of life.  Each organelle in the cytoplasm has a specific role to play.  Digestive enzymes in lysosomes digest food particles.  Endoplasmic reticulum helps in transportation of proteins and in production and storage of glycogen.  Golgi apparatus helps in processing of macromolecules like proteins.  

A typical animal cell (Image via Wikipedia)

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One Response to “Cytoplasm – Its Structure and Functions”
  1. polo Says...

    On August 21, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Cytoplasm is a jelly like substance

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