Difference between Cell Wall and Cell Membrane

Cells are the structurally and functionally active part of life and have also been described as the building blocks and basic components of an organism. The term cell was coined by English scientist Robert Hooke in 1665.

Cells vary in size and shape according to their functions and composition. There are different types of cells and they can be distinguished by the presence and absence of subcellular components.

Difference between Cell Wall and Cell Membrane

What is Cell Wall?

Cell walls exist only in plants, fungi and bacteria. The image above represents the cell wall of a plant.

The cell wall is the most extensive covering of plant cells. Cell walls are found only in plants, some fungi, bacteria and algae. It is outside the cell membrane and is hard, soft, and sometimes hard. It is mainly composed of long carbon fibers such as cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin and pectin.

What is Cell Membrane?

The cell membrane is also known as the plasma membrane. It is the outermost covering of animal cells. It is a semi-permeable membrane composed of fats and proteins. The plasma membrane forms the boundary between the external environment and the biological system.

The plasma membrane controls the entry and exit of water and solutes between cells and the environment. In terms of permeability properties, the plasma membrane can be partially permeable, permeable, permeable and selective permeability.

Difference between Cell Wall and Cell Membrane

Cell Wall Cell Membrane
Present only in plants and in some fungi, bacteria, algae. Present in all types of cells, in humans, animals, plants, bacteria, etc.
It is the outermost part of the plant cell It is the outermost covering the animal cells
It is made up of pectin, chitin, lignin, glycoproteins, glycolipids, sugar, and cellulose. It is a lipid bilayer. And is composed of lipoproteins and carbohydrates.
The cell wall is 0.1 μm to several μm in thickness The cell membrane is 7.5–10 nm in thickness
It is the thick and rigid structure with a fixed shape. It is a thin and delicate structure. It is flexible to change the shape as needed.
It protects the cell from the external environment. It protects and maintains the internal environment of the cell.
The cell wall is metabolically inactive The cell membrane is metabolically active.
The cell wall grows in thickness over time. Further, it occupies the whole cell in the plant as the cell ages and dies. It is of the same thickness for the lifetime of the organism.
The cell wall is fully permeable to smaller molecules with the size of 30-60 kDa. The membrane is selectively permeable and controls the movement of the substance into and outside the cell.
Functions include protection from the external environment. Functions include permeability, signal reception, motility conduction, cell division, sexual reproduction, etc.

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