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Do Plant Cells Have Peroxisomes?

By John Brennan
Plant cells, like animal cells, contain peroxisomes.

Peroxisomes are a type of organelle, small structures found inside cells that carry out many of the important jobs in the cell. They are found not only in animal cells but in plant cells as well.

Features

Peroxisomes range from 1/2 micrometer to 1 1/2 micrometers in diameter and contain a variety of enzymes, proteins that can catalyze reactions. A single membrane encloses their contents.

Function

In plants, just as in animals, peroxisomes break down toxic substances, especially hydrogen peroxide, which can react with other important molecules in cells to cause damage. They convert these reactive oxygen species into other molecules that are harmless to the cell.

Specialized Functions

Peroxisomes also perform several specialized functions in plants that they do not perform in animals. Peroxisomes in leaf cells, for example, play a key role in photorespiration. They are also important in seed germination and growth.

 

About the Author

 

Based in San Diego, John Brennan has been writing about science and the environment since 2006. His articles have appeared in "Plenty," "San Diego Reader," "Santa Barbara Independent" and "East Bay Monthly." Brennan holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of California, San Diego.