2.3 describe the functions of the nucleus, cytoplasm, cell membrane, cell wall, chloroplast and vacuole

In both plant and animal cells –

  • Nucleus – the ‘brain of the cell’. Controls the cell, telling it what to do, contains the DNA of the cell
  • Cell Membrane – sort of like a sieve, controls what goes in and out of a cell
  • Cytoplasm – Where the chemical reactions take place (enzymes that control chemical reactions are also in the cytoplasm, along with the mitochondria which releases the energy required)

Specific to plant cells –

  • Cell Wall – Made up of cellulose, gives the cell shape and provides the structure and support. The cell becomes turgid when it is full of water, therefore the cell cannot and will not burst. Cell walls are actually impermeable to water – they have small gaps in them called plasmodesmata which allows the water to enter by osmosis.
  • Chloroplasts – contains chlorophyll (which has the pigments which turn the plant green)  that converts light energy to chemical energy (process of photosynthesis). Plants are known as ‘autotrophs’ – organisms that make their own food
  • Vacuole – permanent vacuole which contains cell sap and removes waste. Provides nutrients and maintains the shape of the plant cell

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