As we’ve mentioned already, there are many similarities between plant and animal cells. However, there are also several key differences.
For example, animal cells are bigger and less regular in shape and size than those of plants, which are generally regimented in appearance. Take a look at the main structures in a plant cell that are absent in animal cells.
While both animal and plant cells have a thin cell membrane that controls what goes in and out, plants differ in that they also have a cell wall made of cellulose. This rigid outer wall enables the plant to hold a lot of moisture under pressure without popping, while also providing essential structural integrity.
The contents of an animal cell, meanwhile, are held by the cell membrane alone. Animals tend to rely on endo- and exo-skeletons for support.
Plant cells also contain a single, extra-large vacuole, which takes up most of the space in the cell and keeps it plump and turgid. Some animal cells do contain vacuoles, but they are always much smaller and never take up this much space.
Plants manufacture their own food (glucose) from sunlight, water and carbon dioxide, but humans and animals must absorb food obtained from plants and other living creatures. The difference is that plant cells contain chloroplasts – the structures that contain the green, sunlight-absorbing chlorophyll pigment – in which photosynthesis can take place.