High School Biology : Understanding Plant Cell Differences

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for High School Biology

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Understanding Plant Cell Differences

Which of the following organelles is found in plant cells, but not in animal cells?

Possible Answers:

Nucleus

Ribosomes

Chloroplasts

Mitochondria

Correct answer:

Chloroplasts

Explanation:

Plant cells are very similar to animal cells, but receive energy from sunlight. As a result, they require chloroplasts in order to house the chlorophyll where photosynthesis takes place. Animal cells are incapable of photosynthesis, and do not contain chloroplasts.

The other listed structures are found in both animal and plant cells.

Example Question #2 : Understanding Plant Cell Differences

Which of the following structures is found in plant cells, but not animal cells?

Possible Answers:

Endoplasmic reticulum

Chloroplasts

Cell membrane

Nucleus

Correct answer:

Chloroplasts

Explanation:

Both plant and animal cells contain a nucleus, endoplasmic reticulum, and cell membrane. Plants and animals are both eukaryotic, meaning they have the ability to house membrane-bound organelles.

Chloroplasts are required for producing chlorophyll from sunlight. Animals are incapable of performing photosynthesis because they lack these structures; only plant cells and certain protists contain chloroplasts. Additionally, all plant cells contain vacuoles, while only a subset of animal cells do.

Example Question #3 : Understanding Plant Cell Differences

Which of the following organelles is present in plant cells, but not in animal cells?

Possible Answers:

Nucleus

Chloroplasts

Rough endoplasmic reticulum

Cell membrane

Mitochondria

Correct answer:

Chloroplasts

Explanation:

Mitochondria are membrane-bound organelles found in both plant and animal cells, and provide energy for the cell by converting different forms of reactants into ATP. The cell membrane is present in both types of cells and separates the environment from the inside of the cell, and provides cell structure and protection. The rough endoplasmic reticulum is present in both types of cells and is responsible for the storage and packaging of proteins and vesicles. The nucleus is present in both types of cells and controls the general activities of the cell, including gene expression and cell division.

Of these answer choices, only chloroplasts are present in plants cells, but not animal cells. Plant cells are photosynthetic and create their own form of energy from sunlight. The photosynthesis occurs in the chloroplasts of plant cells, which contain the pigment chlorophyll.

Example Question #4 : Understanding Plant Cell Differences

What are two characteristics of chlorophyll?

Possible Answers:

Transport water within the plant and reflect green light

Transport water within the plant and absorb green light

Convert electromagnetic energy to chemical energy and reflect green light

Convert electromagnetic energy to chemical energy and absorb green light

Correct answer:

Convert electromagnetic energy to chemical energy and reflect green light

Explanation:

Chlorophyll is a pigment found in chloroplasts of plant cells. The electrons of chlorophyll become excited by certain wavelengths of light, and can use this energy to create chemical bonds. This process is known as photosynthesis. The net result of photosynthesis is the conversion of electromagnetic waves (light) to chemical energy (sugar).

Wavelengths that correspond to green light are not used by chlorophyll, and are not absorbed by the pigment. Green light is reflected back from the leaves of the plant, and absorbed by the eyes of an observer. This is what makes leaves look green.

Example Question #5 : Understanding Plant Cell Differences

Which of the following is not an extracellular structure in a plant cell?

Possible Answers:

Pectin

Middle lamella

Cell wall

Chloroplast

Correct answer:

Chloroplast

Explanation:

Plant cells contain chloroplasts and are surrounded by a cell wall. Pectin is a carbohydrate found in the cell wall outside of the cell. The middle lamella is a structure composed of pectin and is used to hold adjacent cell walls together, similar to the action of a desmosome.

Chloroplasts are the only option that is located within the cytosol of the plant cell.

Example Question #21 : Cellular Differences

Which of the following is present in plant and fungal cells, but not in animal cells?

Possible Answers:

Chloroplast

Plasma membrane

Mitochondrion

Cell wall

Correct answer:

Cell wall

Explanation:

Both plant cells and fungal cells have cell walls; animal cells do not. Plant cells have chloroplasts, but neither fungal cells nor animal cells do. Fungal, plant and animal cells all have plasma membranes and mitochondria.

Example Question #22 : Cellular Differences

Which of the following characteristics is not true for animal cells?

Possible Answers:

Plasmodesmata allow for communication and eschange of materials between cells

Tight junctions hold cells together, restricting the passage of materials

The extracellular matrix functions in support, adhesion, movement, and regulation between cells

Desmosomes fasten cells together

Gap junctions allow for communication between cells

Correct answer:

Plasmodesmata allow for communication and eschange of materials between cells

Explanation:

All of the options are true for animal cells except for the existence of plasmodesmata, which are found in plant cells. Plasmodesmata are small gaps in the cell walls. They are like gap junctions in animal cells, allowing for communication between cells and the exchange of minerals throughout the plant. 

Example Question #23 : Cellular Differences

Which of the following best explains why salad sometimes appears wilted instead of fresh and crisp after being doused in salad dressing?

Possible Answers:

The turgor pressure remains the same

The vacuole has shrunk due to being in a hypotonic solution

The vacuole has shrunk due to being in a hypertonic solution

None of these

The vacuole swells in a hypertonic solution

Correct answer:

The vacuole has shrunk due to being in a hypertonic solution

Explanation:

Hypertonicity and hypotonicity are both relative terms. A hypertonic solution has more dissolved solutes than the cell that is submerged within it. In other words the solution has less water than the cell in the solution. A hypotonic solution is one that has less dissolved solutes (i.e. more water) than the cell or membrane within it. Water follows its concentration gradient: it flows to where it is least concentrated.

A plant's vacuole is a large membrane bound compartment within the cell that plays a structural role when it has the proper turgor pressure. It is also used as storage for various molecules. Salad generally becomes wilted in salad dressing—or other liquids with many dissolved solutes—because the water in the plant cells tends to flow outward or down its concentration gradient. Hence the salad leaves wilt because they are in a hypertonic solution. In other words, there are more dissolved solutes and non-water molecules outside the cells than there are inside. In terms of water, there is less water outside the cell than in it and so the water flows down its concentration gradient and out of the cell to equalize the gradient. This causes the vacuole to shrink, which reduces pressure on the cell wall and gives the wilted appearance.

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