Are Plant cells Prokaryotic or Eukaryotic? - detailed explanation

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Are plant cells prokaryotic or eukaryotic?

We use plants in our day-to-day life. We use them for food, home decors, to get organic vegetables, etc,. Plants and Animals are dependent on each other for their existence.  

According to R. H. Whittaker’s Five Kingdom Classification, all the plant species come under the Kingdom Plantae. 

Plants are multicellular organisms. So, each and every part of plants such as root, stem, leaf, flower, etc,. contains cells. 

In this article, we are here to answer your questions, Are Plant cells Prokaryotic or Eukaryotic?

Are Plant cells Prokaryotic or Eukaryotic? 

All the plant cells are Eukaryotic Organisms. The plant cells have a prominent nucleus and well-organized membrane-bound organelles such as mitochondria, chloroplast, Golgi apparatus, endoplasmic reticulum, etc. They all integrate together and perform the activities of the cell.

ParameterPlant cells
CharacteristicsThey are Eukaryotes, Multi-cellular with membrane-bound organelles.
MotilityThey are non-motile.
HostThey grow on their own. 
Cell MembraneCell membrane exists.
Mode of nutritionPrimary Autotrophic 

Why Plant cells are Eukaryotic?

Plant cells are Eukaryotic Organisms. Because the plant cells have a definite nucleus surrounded by a nuclear membrane and organelles such as mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi bodies, etc. Their genetic material is present in the form of a thread called chromosomes.

Except, for Kingdom Monera, all others such as Protista, Fungi, Animalia and Plantae are eukaryotes.

Here, Let’s know about eukaryotic organisms in detail.

 What are eukaryotes?

Eukaryotes are organisms with a well-developed prominent nucleus, nuclear membranes, and organized membrane-bound organelles. In Greek, Eu’ means ‘true’ and karyon’ means nucleus’.

These Eukaryotic organisms have a prominent nucleus with tightly coiled chromosomes. These chromosomes contain DNA with histone proteins H2A, H2B, H3, and H4 attached to it. The chromatin organization is complex. It possesses all the membrane-bound organelles.

It contains 80S ribosomes (60S+40S). In most eukaryotes, cell division takes place through mitosis and meiosis. They may exist as both unicellular and multicellular.

Eukaryotic cell

Some examples of eukaryotes

All the species under the Kingdom Fungi, Plantae, and Animalia are eukaryotes. Some of the species of Kingdom Protista are eukaryotes.

Why plant cells are not Prokaryotic?

Plant cells are not prokaryotic, because the plant cells have a definite nucleus surrounded by a nuclear membrane and organelles such as mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi bodies, etc.

Prokaryotes do not have nuclei bound by a nuclear membrane and other organelles. And, their circular genetic material is set free in the cytoplasm without any membrane or envelope covering it.

To understand the answer, let us know about prokaryotic organisms in detail.

What are prokaryotes?

Prokaryotes are unicellular organisms that do not have a prominent nucleus without a nuclear membrane, and membrane-bound organelles. In Greek, Pro – primitive, karyo – nucleus. They are the first life forms in this world.

Usually, these prokaryotic organisms lack a nuclear membrane to their genetic material. They lack chromatin organization. They do not contain organelles such as mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, etc,.

These organisms have 70S ribosomes(50S+30S). Their genetic material is circular, single-stranded, and does not contain histone proteins attached to its DNA. Hence, they are called Nucleiod or Genophore.

These Unicellular organisms have an extrachromosomal double-stranded structure called Plasmid. These are used in R-DNA technology. The cell division takes place by Binary fission.

prokaryotic cells

Some examples of prokaryotes

Species that belong to the kingdom Monera are prokaryotes. Bacteria and Archaebacteria prokaryotic organisms.

Difference between Eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms:

In eukaryotes, the genetic material, DNA is present in the nucleus, mitochondria, and chloroplast. In prokaryotes the genetic material, DNA is present in circular chromosomes and plasmids.

eukaryotic or prokaryotic cells

Eukaryotes and prokaryotes have cell walls, plasma membranes, DNA, ribosomes, and cytoplasm in common. The cell structure of both eukaryotes and prokaryotes are almost similar.

What is a plant cell?

A typical plant cell has a prominent nucleus with large central vacuoles with plastids in addition to other membrane-bound organelles. All the plant cells are eukaryotic in nature.

They are multicellular with tissue and organ system levels of the organisation. Different types of cells are present in different parts of plants. They all co-ordinate together and perform all the activities needed for plant growth. Different cells perform different activities in a plant.

Structure of a Plant cell, (eukaryotes or prokaryotes)

Let us know about the different types of cells present in plants.

What are the different types of plant cells?

  • Meristematic cells
  • Parenchyma cells
  • Collenchyma cells
  • Sclerenchyma cells
  • Xylem cells
  • Phloem cells

What are meristematic cells?

Meristematic cells are actively dividing cells. These cells are isodiametric, with dense cytoplasm and prominent nucleus. The vacuoles are either smaller or absent in meristematic cells. Based on position, these cells are classified as :

  • Apical meristem – present in the root and shoot tips of a plant.
  • Intercalary meristem – present in the maturing tissues and helps in elongation.
  • Lateral meristem – present in the longitudinal axis of root and shoot.

What are parenchyma cells?

Parenchyma cells are living cells present in the ground tissues of a plant. They may be spherical, oval, polyhedral, irregular, elongated, or armed in structure. These cells are colourless. The cell wall is made up of cellulose. These cells contain more air spaces in between adjacent cells. This type of cell helps in the storage of various plant substances. There are different types of parenchyma cells present in plants.

What are the types of parenchyma cells?Based on structure and storage material, there are five types of parenchyma cells. They are:

  • Aerenchyma
  • Storage parenchyma
  • Stellate parenchyma
  • Chlorenchyma
  • Prosenchyma

What are collenchyma cells?

Collenchyma cells are simple, living, mechanical cells. These cells are elongated and polygonal in cross-section. The cell wall is made up of more hemicellulose and pectin than cellulose. They are present in the hypodermis of the Dicot stem and absents in roots. They provide mechanical support and elasticity to the plant. There are three types of collenchyma cells, based on the pectinisation of the cell wall. They are :

  • Angular collenchyma
  • Annular collenchyma
  • Lamellar collenchyma

 What are Sclerenchyma cells?

Sclerenchyma is dead cells that lack protoplasm. The long or short narrow cells with lignified secondary wall thickenings. The cell wall is uniformly and strongly thickened. They provide mechanical strength and support to the plant. There are two types of sclerenchyma. They are :

  • Sclereids (Stone cells)
  • Fibres

What is Xylem?

Xylem is one of the complex tissue systems present in the plant body. These tissues help in water and minerals transportation in plant body from root to leaves tip. Xylem consists of different cells but, they function together as a single unit. They are :

  • Tracheids – Chief water-conducting elements in Gymnosperms and pteridophytes. They are dead, lignified elongated and polygonal cells.
  • Vessels or Trachea – Chief water-conducting elements in Angiosperms. They are absent in pteridophytes and Gymnosperms except, Gnetum. These are dead cells with wider lumen than tracheids.
  • Xylem Parenchyma – These are parenchyma cells associated with the xylem. These are only living cells present in Xylem.
  • Xylem fibres. – These are Sclerenchymatous fibres associated with Xylem. The dead, lignified cells with the narrow lumen. They provide mechanical support to the plant.

What is Phloem?

Phloem is the food conducting complex tissue system present in the plant body. Like Xylem, Phloem also consists of different cells but, they function together as a single unit. They are :

  • Sieve elements – Conducting elements of Phloem. It contains sieve cells and sieve tubes. Sieve cells are present in Pteridophytes and Gymnosperms whereas, Sieve tubes are present in Angiosperms.
  • Companion cells – These are living cells with lignified walls. They are present in Angiosperms and absent in Pteridophytes and Gymnosperms. These cells help in assisting the Sieve tubes for conduction.
  • Phloem parenchyma – These are parenchyma cells associated with Phloem. They are living cells and help in storage and conduction.
  • Phloem fibres – These are Sclerenchymatous fibres associated with phloem. The dead, lignified cells with the narrow lumen. They provide mechanical support to the plant.

All these plant cells organize to form different tissues. These cells perform the activities such as photosynthesis, respiration, transpiration, and transportation in plants. Thus, helps in leading the plant’s life.

FAQ

Why are plant cells eukaryotic in nature?

Eukaryote means with true nuclei. All the plant cells contain a prominent nucleus, surrounded by a nuclear membrane and membrane-bound organelles such as chloroplast, endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria, etc,. Hence, plant cells are eukaryotic in nature.

Is there any prokaryotic plant cells?

No, there is no existence of prokaryotic plant cells. Prokaryote means without a nucleus. All the plant cells are eukaryotic organisms with a prominent nucleus and membrane-bound organelles. If exist, then it cannot be grown into a plant.

Why are eukaryotes bigger than prokaryotes?

Due to the presence of organelles, eukaryotes are bigger than prokaryotes occupying spaces for metabolic reactions. 

What are the main functions of a plant cell?

The main functions of plant cells are growth, conduction of water, minerals and food, storage and mechanical support.

Though, some of the plant cells such as Sclereids are dead, how do they perform their functions?

These dead cells have only lost the ability to grow but, they can perform all their respective functions such as mechanical support, water and food conduction, etc,.

Do eukaryotes behave as prokaryotes at any stage, in their lifetime?

No, Eukaryotes won’t behave as prokaryotes at any stage, in their lifetime. But, during the prophase stage of mitosis and meiosis in eukaryotes, the nuclear membrane and nucleolus vanishes for cell division and reappears at the Telophase stage after division.

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Summary:

  • Are plant cells prokaryotic or eukaryotic? – Plant cells are Eukaryotic since it has a definite nucleus with the nuclear membrane and membrane-bound organelles.
  • Well defined nucleus bound by a nuclear membrane is the characteristic of a eukaryotic cell, therefore, a plant cell is eukaryotic.
  • Plants belong to the Eukaryota domain like for example fungi and animals.
  • Eukaryotes are organisms with a prominent nucleus and membrane-bound organelles in their cell structure.
  • Prokaryotes are organisms without a definite nucleus and membrane-bound organelles.
  • Different types of plant cells together form tissues and are present in different parts of the plant body.
  • Meristematic cells help in plant growth.
  • Parenchyma cells help in the storage of food, water and minerals.
  • Collenchyma cells help in storage and provide mechanical support to the plant.
  • Sclerenchyma cells help in providing mechanical support to the plant.
  • Xylem tissues help in the conduction of water and minerals from roots to leaves across the plant body.
  • Phloem helps in conducting food from leaves to root across the plant body.
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