Protoplasm: Definition, Types, and Examples

Protoplasm Definition

The word protoplasm has existed in various cultures with various meaning. The “first created item” was its meaning in Latin and is a liquid present in the cell. Its literal translation means mucus in German language.

Proto means the first, pioneer and plasma means something which is casted. Thus, protoplasm can be defined as within the cell there is a gelatinous liquid present which has two bifurcations nucleus and cytoplasm made up of biomolecules and salt.

Within the cell which is the fundamental unit of life, lies the protoplasm which comprises of nucleoplasm i.e., nucleus and cytoplasm.

Protoplasm Features

Protoplasm is made up of salts, water, and biomolecules and found within the cell and encapsulated by cell membrane. There are two variants such as liquid or gelatinous in protoplasm.

As prokaryotes lacks and various organelle, thus the protoplasm is in the form of cytoplasm. Between the outer and the cytoplasmic membrane is the periplasmic space containing the periplasm, where the protoplasm is spread out. This is seen in gram-negative organism.

Nucleus and cytoplasm is seen in eukaryotes, where cytoplasm is formed from cytosol and is gelatinous in nature and is found between the nuclear envelope and cell membrane and within the envelope is the protoplasm.

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Various processes take place in cytoplasm such as division, metabolism, growth and possess organelle like nucleus which contains the genetic information which has various functions like growth, reproducing, metabolism and others.

Photosynthesis is carried out by the organelle plastid which has chlorophyll. Lipid, carbohydrate production and removal of toxins are the functions of endoplasmic reticulum and transports items to Golgi bodies, which takes fatty acid in the cell and packages various secretory molecules. Energy required is synthesized by mitochondria.

Protoplasm Function

Various biological functions of protoplasm are: RNA and DNA production which takes place in the nucleus, in the ER, production of lipid occurs and ribosomes synthesize proteins.

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Protoplasm Importance

Cells will mature after the division and in maturation, cells metabolize in two ways, where the larger molecule is broken into smaller, and energy is liberated, this is catabolism, the reverse of catabolism is anabolism, where smaller molecules come together to form large molecule and energy is required for this process. This is known as anabolism. Thus, production, secretion, breakdown and storage of biomolecules occurs in the cell.

  • Nano-protoplasm: the ultimate unit of life. Physiol Chem Phys Med NMR . 2007;39(2):111-234.
  • Cell versus . protoplasm: revisionist history. Cell Biol Int . 2012 Jul;36(7):643-7.

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