What is the difference between cytoplasm and protoplasm

Expert Answers
justaguide eNotes educator| Certified Educator

All living organisms are made up of cells. A cell has an outer wall or membrane that encloses a thick liquid which is called the cytoplasm. All the organelles of the cell except for the nucleus reside in the cytoplasm. In cells that have a nucleus it is surrounded by what is known as nucleoplasm and is separated from the cytoplasm.

The cytoplasm is made primarily of water, salts and organic molecules and has a mesh of protein strands that ensure the cell organelles stay in place. The cytoplasm acts as a medium in which all the exchange of ions and organic compounds between the other components of the cell takes place.

The protoplasm is a term used for everything that is contained within the cell membrane. This includes all the cell organelles as well as the cytoplasm

saad19296 | Student

Cytoplasm is a mixture of water and soluble inorganic and organic compounds of various organelles . Whereas the protoplasm is everything that is present inside the cell, that is, the cytoplasm and everything in it.

I will write it as a mathematical formula


Cytoplasm = C, Protoplasm = P and Organelles = O

Protoplasm = C+O



iqqu | Student

Cytoplasm is a homogeneous, generally clear jelly-like material that fills cells. The cytoplasm consists of cytosol and the cellular organelles, except the cell nucleus. The cytosol is made up of water, salts, organic molecules and many enzymes that catalyze reactions. The cytoplasm plays an important role in a cell, serving as a "molecular soup" in which the organelles are suspended and held together by a fatty membrane. It is found within the plasma membrane of a cell and surrounds the nuclear envelope and the cytoplasmic organelles.

The cytoplasm plays a mechanical role, that is, to maintain the shape and consistency of the cell, and to provide suspension to the organelles. It is also a storage place for chemical substances indispensable to life, which are involved in vital metabolic reactions, such as anaerobic glycolysis and protein synthesis.

Protoplasm is the living substance inside the cell. At the simplest level, it is divisible into cytoplasm and nucleoplasm. It is also sometimes termed "bioplasm", (Beale: meaning the essential substance of living matter within a cell) and is distinct from non-living cell components lumped under "ergastic substances". Ergastic substances can occur in the protoplasm. In many plant cells most of the volume of the cell is not occupied by protoplasm, but by "tonoplast": a large water filled vacuole enclosed by a membrane. 
The idea that protoplasm is divisible into a ground substance called "cytoplasm" and a structural body called the Cell nucleus, reflects the more primitive knowledge of cell structure that preceded the development of powerful microscope of organic and inorganic substances, mysteriously directed by the nucleus and controlled by the cell membrane. Today, it is known that the cytoplasm is structurally very complex, and that protoplasm is living because of the complexity of the "cytoplasmic organeles" and their careful separation and orchestration of multiple chemical processes. 

Charles Darwin and his contemporaries viewed "protoplasm" as the sole content of a cell, in other words, cells were nothing but simple blobs composed of protoplasm. This simplified view of "cells biology" circumvented the problem of the origin of life that Darwin and others struggled with. However, that problem was later introduced in the 1950s when the complex structure of DNA was discovered. 

The concept of protoplasm is the essence of life, being something nearly sacred, induplicable by man. Organisms are able to ingest chemicals produced by nature and made in a laboratory. It can evolve into quite a number of other living creatures. 

Protoplasm exists in three forms: solid state, liquid state and sometimes a combined solid and liquid state. 

Whether the protoplasm is in either of the three forms depends upon the physiological state of the cell. 

iqqu | Student

1. Protoplasm is the living substance inside the cell.

2. Cytoplasm is a jelly-like material that fills cells