In 1838 a botanist called Schleiden derived the theory The basic unit of structure and function of all living organisms is the cell.' Over 150 years later this can be regarded as one of the most familiar and important facts within the biological fields.
Drawing of cork cells published by Robert Hooke 1665
The Cell itself and use of Cytology:
The cell can be thought of as a bag in which the chemistry of life is allowed to occur, partially separated from the environment outside the cell, it exists within all living organisms as its basic structure. The study of cells is made possible through the use of cytology' the preparation of materials for examination through microscopes as an average animal cell exists on a scale of 10 microns roughly one hundredths of a millimetres. Originally light microscopy was used in this field but with the advancement of knowledge scientists were restricted to 200nm magnification, or 2 tenths of a micron. Realising the existence of cell organelles within the cell structure, allowing the function of the cell itself to occur; It was necessary to increase magnification by utilising an alternate source radiation (alternate to light).The result was the electron microscope, whereby the short wavelength and negative charge of electrons when supplied with energy allowed for greater focusing with electromagnetism. This method bends the path of the beam in the manner of a lens to light.
Cell Organelles and the variation between Plant and Animal Cells:
We have already determined the cell to be the foundation to all organisms, however the term cell is associative and categorises a wide variation. Every animal cell has a specified function whether it be the production of hair, mucus, or the process of other chemicals ( multiple reactions occur within a cell for other purposes i.e. creation of ATP, protein manufacture etc.) So from this we must examine the cell in more detail and determine what it is within the cell that creates it specialised function and separates it as an individual type.
Plant cells vary from animal through the existence of certain organelles. Organelles are the substances that provide a cell with the ability to produce (a production line) and exist within the cells boundaries. Typical Animal Cell.(Fig.1) A plant cell requires a cell wall spanning the perimeter of the cells surface membrane and allocating a more defined form. This wall being rigid in nature embodies the pressure within the cell caused by the contained water (Large central Vacuole non existent within animal cells and surrounded by a Tonoplst membrane controlling the exchange between the vacuole and the cytoplasm.) This prevents the cell from bursting when more water enters through Osmosis. It is also recognised that Plasmodesmata links plant cells to neighbouring plant cells. These are fine strands of cytoplasm which pass through pore like structures in the walls of the neighbour.
Typical Plant Cell.(Fig.2)
Finally the plant cells required for photosynthesis contain chloroplasts these exist within the plastids family of organelles. Chloroplasts are relatively large green organelles that house chlorophyll necessary in collecting and processing sunlight.
Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes:
Eventually it was determined that cells could also be categorised into to two fundamental groups pro, and eukaryotes. Organisms that lack nuclei are recognised as Prokaryotes ( Pro meaning before and karyote meaning...