Difference Between Cytoplasm and Protoplasm Explained

The cell is the functional unit of life and it is composed of all the materials and components that are required for life. The Difference between Cytoplasm and Protoplasm is that protoplasm constitutes everything in the cell including the cytoplasm and nucleus while cytoplasm constitutes all parts of the cell excluding the nucleus.

The organelles, ions, molecules and water portion of the cell is contained in the protoplasm so this is where everything takes place. In some definitions, protoplasm and cytoplasm are the same but in other definitions, protoplasm is the living portion that includes the nucleoplasm too.

Cytoplasm: Definition and Functions.

The cytoplasm is the living part of the cell excluding the nucleus. The cytoplasm is further divided into sol and gel. The sole portion is an aqueous portion which includes water, metabolites, ions, and proteins that are smaller in size. On the other hand, the gel portion is the concentrated part that contains organelles.

Many cellular reactions take place in these organelles such as oxidative phosphorylation. Water is the main constituent of cytoplasm, making up to 80% of volume.

It may seem like cytoplasm is an unorganized mass but it actually has a structure that is made up of scaffoldings called cytoskeleton. These include microtubules, actin filaments, and tubulin filaments. This cytoskeleton gives structure to the cytoplasm and the cell.

The cytoplasm also contains cytoplasmic inclusions that are small insoluble suspensions such as silicon dioxide, glycogen, and calcium oxalate and lipid droplets. Cytoplasm keeps moving inside the cell in a process called cytoplasmic streaming. The movement is due to the result of force by the cytoskeletal filaments.

Protoplasm: Definition and Functions.

Protoplasm refers to all cell content that is surrounded by a plasma membrane. This includes cytoplasm and cellular organelles. It is a mixture of water, macromolecules, ions, amino acids, lipids, proteins, polysaccharides, nucleic acids, and monosaccharide.

In eukaryotes, all this material is called protoplasm but in prokaryotes, there is a little difference between gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. In gram-negative bacteria, two membranes are present. The content inside the inner membrane is called the protoplasm and the content between the inner and outer membrane is called the periplasm.

It is still controversial whether nucleus and vacuoles should be included in protoplasm. It is believed that protoplasm exists in the sol-gel state. This means that molecules and all structure present inside it are in the form of colloidal solution and at other times, they are present as an integrated network or a solid mass which is called the gel state.

Recently, a theory has been proposed to say that more concentrated the cytoplasm, more is its tendency towards being in the gel state. The opposite is true for the sol state.

Summary of Difference Between Cytoplasm and Protoplasm:

  • The main Difference between Cytoplasm and Protoplasm is that cytoplasm does not include nucleus while protoplasm does.
  • Cytoplasm maintains the structure of the cell due to presence of cytoskeleton in it.
  • Other than that, it also has cell organelles that are involved in different cellular activities.
  • Along with 80% water content, there are ions and metabolites in the protoplasm too.

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