What’s Cytoplasm?

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Cytoplasm is a clear liquid in cells that suspends and holds organelles in place. It contains cytosol, organelles, and cytoplasmic inclusions. Organelles facilitate important metabolic reactions, and cytoplasm also stores substances and allows for cell movement.

Cytoplasm is the clear liquid that fills the cells of both plants and animals. It contains three parts, the cytosol, organelles and cytoplasmic inclusions. This liquid works to suspend and hold the organelles in place within the cell. It is within this substance that many of the most basic and most important aspects of biology take place.

The most basic part of the cytoplasm is the cytosol. The cytosol is the basic liquid part of the cell that does not contain any of the organelles or major chemical stores. It is usually clear and takes up most of the cell space.

All parts of the cell except the nucleus are contained in the cytoplasm. These parts are called organelles. Organelles are microscopic semi-organs that facilitate a number of important metabolic reactions, such as the breakdown of proteins, energy production, and cellular mitosis or meiosis. Examples of such organelles are Golgi bodies, mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum and ribosomes. Without the function of these organelles, cells would wither and die and life would not be possible.

Maintaining cell shape and organelle suspension is the most important job of the cell cytoplasm, but it also performs many other roles. The cytoplasm serves as a storage space for the body’s chemical building blocks, storing proteins, oxygen, and other substances until they can be used by the organelles, and storing waste byproducts of metabolic reactions, such as carbon, until they can be broken down. These deposits are cytoplasmic inclusions.

The last function that sometimes involves the cytoplasm is to allow cell movement. By squeezing the organelles in a particular part of the cell, the cytoplasm can make the cell move within the bloodstream. In humans, this allows white blood cells to get to the parts of the body where they need to be to operate. In basic organisms, such as the amoeba, this provides their only means of transportation. In plants, this process, called cytoplasmic streaming, allows them to optimize cell organelles for harvesting the sunlight needed for photosynthesis.

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