Animal and Plant Cells

Although, the overall function of the cell is the same, there are some important differences between animal and plant cells. The first difference is that plant cells have an organelle called chloroplast. Chloroplasts contain a pigment called chlorophyll (which gives the plant its green color). Chlorophyll is able to capture the energy from the sun. In doing this a series of chemical reactions occur that convert the suns energy into ATP (energy for the plant). The second main difference is in the structure of the cell itself. Animal cells are smaller than plant cells and have a membrane around them that is flexible and allows molecules, gases and nutrients to pass into the cell. Plant cells are larger and in addition to a membrane they have a rigid cell wall. The cell wall does not let any material pass so instead the plants cells must have tiny openings between cells like doors between rooms in your house. These "doors" are called plasmodesmata. The plant cell wall provides protection to the plant cell just like the animal cell does.