Biology

Difference between cell wall and cell membrane

Main difference

A cell is a basic unit of life; We classify the cells into two categories; Plant cells and animal cells. These cells differentiate from each other on several bases, one of the most prominent bases of which is the cell covering. There are two covers that are found around the cells; one is the cell wall while the other is the cell membrane. The cell wall is a characteristic of plant cells; it is only found in plant cells, not animal cells. Plant cells also have a cell membrane, but the cell wall externally covers this cell membrane. The cell membrane is found in both plant cells and animal cells, but is predominantly observed in animal cells.

Comparative chart

Cellular wall Cellular membrane
Presence The cell wall is found in plants, bacterial cells. It is not present in animal cells. The cell membrane is present in all types of cells.
Outer coating The cell wall is the outermost covering of plant cells. The cell membrane is the outermost covering of animal cells.
Live active and metabolic The cell wall is not alive and is metabolically inactive. The cell membrane is alive and metabolically active.
Rigid and thick Stiffer and thicker Less stiff and thick compared to the cell membrane.
Permeable The cell wall is completely permeable. The cell membrane is semipermeable.
Cellulose Cellulose is present It lacks cellulose.

What is the cell wall?

The outermost covering of plant cells is known as the cell wall. It is a characteristic feature of only plant and bacterial cells; it is absent in animal cells. The cell wall is the only non-living structure found in plant cells. Cell wall thickness ranges from 4 to 20 uM. Its function is to protect the cell and its organelles from the external environment. The cell wall is stiffer than other coatings, so it has a great protective function and provides a fixed shape to the cell. It also provides stability to plant cells. The cell wall is metabolically inactive and contains cellulose. The cell wall is made up of pectin, chitin, lignin, etc. The cell wall lacks receptors and is completely permeable. Over time,

What is the cell membrane?

The cell membrane is the outermost covering of animal cells. It is found in both animal cells and plant cells. The cell membrane is a living structure of cells. Its thickness is 5-10 nm wide. It is made up of lipids, proteins, and carbohydrates. It protects the protoplasm from the external environment and maintains the internal matter of the cell. The cell membrane is metabolically active and does not contain cellulose. The cell membrane is semi-permeable since it allows some structure or molecules to pass through it. In addition, the cell membrane contains receptors of different types. The cell membrane is elastic; provides flexibility to the cell and maintains cytoplasm and osmotic balance within the cell. The cell membrane also requires food and nutrition from the cell,

Cell wall vs. cell membrane

  • The cell wall is found in plants, bacterial cells. It is not present in animal cells, whereas the cell membrane is present in all cell types.
  • The cell wall is the outermost covering of plant cells, while the cell membrane is the outermost covering of animal cells.
  • The cell wall is non-living and metabolically inactive, while the cell membrane is living and metabolically active.
  • The cell wall is stiffer and thicker than the cell membrane.
  • The cell wall is fully permeable, while the cell membrane is semi-permeable.
  • The cell wall contains cellulose and, unlike this cell membrane, it lacks cellulose.

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