What is Cytoplasm?

The cytoplasm is the gelatinous liquid that fills the inside of a cell. It is composed of water, salts, and various organic molecules. Some intracellular organelles, such as the nucleus, and mitochondria, are enclosed by membranes that separate them from the cytoplasm. It is about 80% water and usually colorless. The term was introduced by Rudolf von Kölliker in 1863, originally as a synonym for protoplasm, but later it has come to mean the cell substance and organelles outside the nucleus.

Structure of Cytoplasm

  • Cell organelles are various structures existing inside cells. All these structures are distinct and perform specific functions. Cells have three main elements i.e., plasma membrane, cytoplasm, and the nucleus.
  • The plasma membrane or cell membrane is a bi-lipid membranous layer, parting the cell organelles from its outside environment and the different cells. It is the external covering of a cell where all different parts, including cytoplasm and nucleus, are enclosed.
  • The nucleus is one of the biggest organelles. They have exclusive control of a cell. Lastly, the cytoplasm is a jelly-like material in which the cell organelles are implanted.
  • The cytoplasm is an essential component of the cell. It is a semi-liquid jelly-like material, which joins the nucleus and the cell membrane. In the cell, the cytoplasm is embedded, while other cell organelles such as the endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria, ribosomes, vacuoles, etc. are all suspended within it.
  • It can easily be examined under a microscope through the staining technique. Functionally, it is the site for several chemical reactions within a cell. Most of the cellular metabolism takes place here.

Structure of Cytoplasm

Function

  • It is composed of salt and water and is present within the membrane of the cells and embeds all of the parts of the cells and organelles.
  • The cytoplasm is home to many activities of the cell as it contains molecules, enzymes that are crucial in the breakdown of the waste.
  • It assists in metabolic activities.
  • Provides shape to the cell. It fills up the cells thus enabling the organelles to remain in their position. The cells, without cytoplasm, would deflate and substances will not permeate easily from one to the other organelle.
  • A part of the cytoplasm, the cytosol has no organelles. Rather, the cytosol is enclosed by matrix boundaries that fill up the cell section which does not hold the organelles.

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