Vacuoles – Definition, Functions, Types, Location and difference between Plant and Animal vacuoles

What is a vacuole in the cell?

Vacuoles are storage sacs or cavities in which solid or liquid is stored in the cell. It contain fluid called cell SAP, which consists of water sugar amino acids in Science salt nitrogenous waste etc.

Initially the vacuole is like a small bubble. It becomes larger as the cell grows. Once the cell is mature the vacuole takes up most of the space pushing the cytoplasm, nucleus and other organs to the Periphery.

What are the function of vacuoles?

  • Many substances which are important for the life of the cell are stored in vacuoles for examples Chemicals, foods, water , nutrients, ions, waste products, plant pigments and salts.
  • It also removes toxic substance from the cell.
  • In plants the vacuoles store and release Chemicals that are poisonous or taste bad to deter Predator from consuming the plant Predator from consuming the plant.
  • It provides turgidity and rigidity to the cell by maintaining osmotic pressure.
  • It maintains the shape of the cell.
  • It maintains the balance of water in the cell.
  • In plant cell it provides structure and support for the growing plant.
  • Vacuoles store waste products and that’s how cell is protected from contamination. Plays an important role in waste disposal.
  • It also helps in floating of bacterial cells.


What are the types of vacuoles

Types of Vacuoles are as follows

  • Central vacuole.( Sap vacuoles)
  • Contractile vacuole.
  • Food vacuole
  • Gas vacuoles.
  • Central vacuole( Sap vacuoles)

Central Vacuole (Sap Vacuole) :- This vacuoles is responsible for the turgidity  and rigidity of plant cell. They play important role in cell enlargement and also store and concentrate waste products.
Contractile vacuoles: – This vacuole are found in protozoans and algal cells. It helps in osmoregulation and excretion of the cell. This vacuole Contains large number of Mitochondria which provides energy for their contraction.

Food vacuoles: – This vacuole are generally found in protozoans like amoeba.  they are formed due to engulfing of food material. This vacuole contains digestive enzymes which causes digestion of ingested food.

Air vacuoles- also called as pseudo vacuoles or gas Vacuoles are responsible for floating of prokaryotic cell.

What is the difference between Plant Vacuole and Animal Vacuoles?

Plant Vacuole Animal Vacuole
Plant cell has single large vacuoles that almost cover 90% of the cell space. Animal cell contains one or many Vacuoles which are smaller in size as compared to plant vacuoles.
Plant vacuole contains cell sap. Animal vacuole contains fluid food or metabolic waste in animal cell.
Vacuoles are permanent structure in plant cell Vacuoles can be temporary structure in animal cell.
Vacuoles are generally occurs in center of plant cell. Vacuoles are distributed all over the animal cell.
Vacuoles in plant cell are important to maintain the turgor pressure. Vacuoles in animal cells are important in exocytosis and endocytosis.
Plant Vacuole vs Animal Vacuole Diagram
Plant Vacuole vs Animal Vacuole Diagram

Can a cell live without vacuoles…

What wil happen to the Plant cell without vacuole?
  • Vacuoles in plant cell carries out many important functions  like   providing turgidity and rigidity to the cell by maintaining osmotic pressure.  It also maintains the shape of the cell  and balance the water in the cell.
    If vacuoles are absent in plant cell  the plant cell will shrink  the osmotic pressure is not maintained.
  • Plant vacuoles are also responsible for the  isolation of the waste product , if  plant vacuoles are not present waste  material will slowly destroy the cell organelles.
  • Plant vacuoles also degrades  the complex molecules and transform them into  simple molecules which plant utilizes as nutrients. If plant vacuoles are not present  the cell will starve it will not get the essential nutrients properly.

So without the presence of plant vacuoles plant cell will die.

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