Vacuoles are storage bubbles found in cells. They are found in both animal and plant cells but are much larger in plant cells. Vacuoles might store food or any variety of nutrients a cell might need to survive. They can even store waste products so the rest of the cell is protected from contamination. Eventually, those waste products would be sent out of the cell.
The structure of vacuoles is fairly simple. There is a membrane that surrounds a mass of fluid. In that fluid are nutrients or waste products. Plants may also use vacuoles to store water. Those tiny water bags help to support the plant. They are closely related to objects called vesicles that are found throughout the cell.
In plant cells, the vacuoles are much larger than in animal cells. When a plant cell has stopped growing, there is usually one very large vacuole. Sometimes that vacuole can take up more than half of the cell’s volume. The vacuole holds large amounts of water or food. Don’t forge that vacuoles can also hold the plant waste products. Those waste products are slowly broken into small pieces that cannot hurt the cell. Vacuoles hold onto things that the cell might need, just like a backpack.
Functions of Vacuoles:
- A vacuole is any membrane-bound organelle with little or no internal structure. It takes nothing from the cell, and produces nothing for the cell. It does, however, store things for the cell. In a sense, it is a “vacuum”. Though common in many cells, they are most prominent in plant cells, taking up most of the central space.
- Though the contents of the vacuole vary from organism to organism, as a rule, they contain:
- atmospheric gases
- inorganic salts
- Organic acids
3. In some plants, the vacuoles contain poisons. Biologists speculate that this is to help protect the plant from herbivores.
Location of Vacuoles:
In a plant cell, the vacuole is very prominent in the center, often shoving the other organelles up against the cell membrane. These water-filled organelles, along with the cell wall, help give the shell its structure, which allows for such phenomena as a thin-stemmed flower standing up straight.