What is the function of a vacuole in an animal cell?I'm studying IGCSE, not sure if this is part of the syllabus, but still wondering why an animal cell has a small vacuole. Thank you

historyteacher | Student

In animal cells, vacuoles perform mostly subordinate roles, assisting in larger processes of exocytosis and endocytosis.

Exocytosis is the extrusion process of proteins and lipids from the cell. These materials are absorbed into secretory granules within the Golgi apparatus before being transported to the cell membrane and secreted into the extracellular environment. In this capacity, vacuoles are simply storage vesicles which allow for the containment, transport and disposal of selected proteins and lipids to the extracellular environment.

Endocytosis is the reverse of exocytosis and can occur in a variety of forms. Phagocytosis ("cell eating") is the process by which bacteria, dead tissue, or other bits of material visible under the microscope are engulfed by cells. The material makes contact with the cell membrane, which then invaginates. The invagination  is pinched off, leaving the engulfed material in the membrane-enclosed vacuole and the cell membrane intact. Pinocytosis ("cell drinking") is essentially the same process, the difference being that the substances ingested are in solution and not visible under the microscope. Phagocytosis and Pinocytosis are both undertaken in association with lysosomes which complete the breakdown of the material which has been engulfed.

bloom25 | Student

A vacuole is a membrane-bound sac that plays role in intracellular digestion and the release of cellular waste products.Plant cells have a large vacuole due to the amount of water the cell must hold to maintain it's shape the water in the vacuole creates something called turgor pressure when the vacuole has lots of water the turgor is highand pushes against the cell wall so that the cell is rigid when vacuole has less water the turgor is low and the cell is flaccid.

animal cells don't have to worry so much as since our cells are already in aqueous environment  and already get water in lot of other ways.

hope this info is of some use to you

michaelthenew | Student

the vacuole contains the cell sap, which has sugars, salts and water.all of this are essential substances in the process of osmosis and diffusion.as it helps to balance the concentration of water and other substances in the cell.


kek32 | Student

A vacuole, just as in plant cells, is a membrane bound organelle that is used for storage of energy.  The main difference between the two is in plants this organelle can be fairly large because it is used to store mainly water and in animal cells this organelle is used for short term storage of energy, since this process is constanty occuring.

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