The Vacuole is a cell organelle that is present only in plant cells. The main vacuole Function is in maintaining the structure and shape of the cell. Cells of plants do not increase in size by expanding their cytoplasm but by increasing the size of their vacuoles. This organelle is a huge vesicle that is used in many roles including that of storing metabolites, nutrients, and even waste products of the cell.

It is a membrane-bound molecule system that performs specific storage and removal functions with some eukaryotic cells.

Vacuole Function

The vacuole is the place where food materials are captures and stored. It is also where the toxic and unwanted substances can be sequestered for removal and decomposition. This vacuole also functions in preventing cellular self-poisoning by means of exporting and breaking down of old cellular parts.

The primary vacuole functions include maintaining the fluid balance or the internal hydrostatic pressure; exporting the unwanted and toxic substances; acting as a cellular pump; maintaining the cell’s acidic internal pH; and determining relative cell size and even shape, as they can help the cell elongate rapidly. The most useful, and the largest, vacuoles are mostly found in plant cells. Vacuoles are filled with a different liquid called cell sap, instead of protoplasm. The sap’s composition is primarily water, but this can vary from one cell to another and even from one vacuole to another vacuole.

Cells of plants have large central vacuoles, which are often as large as 80% of the interior of the cell. This organelle holds enzymes, inorganic ions such as calcium, water and the toxic byproducts that are about to be eliminated. The number as well as the overall size of the central vacuole is dependent on the type of plant, life stage of the plant and even the season. All these are due to the vacuole’s function of maintaining the pressure inside the cell through water storage.

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