Do plants have lysosomes? Everything to Know

Do Plants have lysosomes?- No, they don’t at least in conventional biology, Lysosomes are absent in Plant cell. Ok, first of all, let’s start with the intro of today’s topic. Here we are going to talk about the relation of lysosomes with respect to the Plant cell.

When we talk about a plant cell then there is so much to differentiate it from an Animal cell. Each of these has a lot in common and still presents some magnificent specialties- the Unique one. This uniqueness is often the matter of discussion in the whole science community especially the biology peoples.

Both plant and animal contain several organelles but here comes the question Do they contain them all? The answer is No. There are certain organelles that differentiate them from the other- like the cell wall. And here comes the question of discussion.

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Do Plants Have Lysosomes?- Technically, No- Plants do not have Lysosomes. In conventional biology, as of now, we have treated lysosomes as an integral part of an Animal Cell. This is true for the specialization of organelles, especially in a plant cell.


Lysosomes are membrane-bounded organelles found in animal and plant cells.- BSCB

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Things You Should Know about Lysosomes

Up to now, it is clear that there are certain cells that contain organelles known as lysosomes. But what does it actually means, what is a lysosome and how is it different in plant and animal cells? All those and much more should be answered so keep reading for a quick walkthrough guide about these details.

What is a Lysosome?- Well known and universally accepted definition is – Lysosomes are membrane-bound cell organelles found specifically in any animal cell. Other than that various modifications may be noticed in the case of plant cells especially with the standard lysosome characterization.

In a simple word- A Lysosome is a sac-like structure that contains several enzymes mostly responsible for dissolving waste materials and sometimes the entire cell leading to the death of a particular cell.

What is the Shape of a Lysosome?- According to the standard definition, a Lysosome is mostly spherical in shape. Though there are variations seen especially with dedicated functional changes. The shape of the lysosome mostly relies on the location it stays and actively working on. Therefore considering it spherical is probably the universal truth in the science community.

Do you Know? Any standard Lysosomes may contain 60 different enzymes with more than 50 different wall proteins. All together these organelles have a lot of work to do.

Where do these Enzymes come to the lysosome?- Technically all the enzymes present in lysosomes are synthesized by the Rough Endoplasmic reticulum(Rough ER). It is a cell organelle with several functions other than synthesizing enzymes for the lysosomes. If you want more info about these rough ER then write below in the comment section.

Do you know?- Lysosomes are also known as “Suicide bags” of the cells. It was an interesting hypothesis made by Nobel Prize winner “De Duve”. He stated lysosomes as the killer of the cells due to its nature to support “Apoptosis”.

The Very idea of Apoptosis states that lysosomes will kill or digest the cell matter itself and ends the life upon maturity. This was very fascinating ideas which lead to the popular name “Suicide Bags” or “Suicide sac” termed for lysosomes.

So unfortunate for these little organelles isn’t it?- After all, this name creates a negative persona for them in the scientific community.

Are lysosomes in plants different from Animal cell?

Yes, of course, there are differences. Despite the fact that Plants do not contain any organelle named “Lysosomes”.  We can resemble these little organelles with others for their similarities in functioning.

Like, In Animal cell a lysosome is required to break down and decompose bigger granules or debris of waste materials. In addition to that, it provides collective protection from foreign invasion or infestation.

lysosomes are known to dissolve entire cellular mater of its host cell once it’s mature or pretends to be harmful to other safe cells. It seems to be Suicide but actually it is an effective way of keeping the entire system healthy.

Other than that if you consider a plant cell, It already has a hard protective outer covering called the Cell wall. This cell wall is enough to protect the plant cell from an external attack. Another organelle in a plant cell that is specifically termed as plant lysosome is the vacuole itself. A vacuole in a plant cell is an organelle responsible for the management of waste materials.

Why are there no lysosomes in plant cells?

Yes, it is an accepted fact that plant cell does not contain any lysosome. Interestingly, if you consider the requirements for an organelle as lysosome- it is mostly related to the protection and cleanliness of the cell that contains it. So considering the fact that plant cell already has a well-structured cell wall for the protection purpose.

Another function of waste removal and treatment is entirely handled by the large vacuoles present in every plant cell. So lysosome is rather not required specifically for functionality unless you treat a vacuole as a modified lysosome.

Interesting studies have been made for this perspective by the British Society for Cell Biology (BSCB), though not all are confirmed yet. If interested check out the links given and comment your views below.

What is the function of lysosomes in plant cells?

Considering the functionality of lysosomes, It is a universal fact that in an animal cell, the entire management of degradation of waste materials along with providing protection from external factors is somehow managed by the lysosomes.

On the other hand, there is no specific lysosome present in a plant cell. All the functions of a lysosome are managed by the cell wall and the vacuoles inside the plant cell.

This is why you may have noticed a bigger vacuole in a plant cell, it is way too bigger than an ordinary vacuole in any animal cell.

How many lysosomes are in a plant cell?

In Animal cells, considering the complexity there are 10 to 1000 lysosomes present in an average cell. In-Plant cell there is the only one organelle considered as a lysosome, technically it is a Vacuole. It is an organelle bigger than others and covering more space than occupied entirely by other plant cell organelles.

Let me clear it first, if you are thinking of an organelle with the term lysosome inside a plant cell then there is nothing like that. There is no Lysosome present in a plant cell. Else it contains a large vacuole that fulfills the purpose of a lysosome.

On the other hand, average mammals as we humans may have anywhere between 50 to 1000 lysosome per cell. Isn’t it interesting?

What is the other name of the lysosome?

Lysosomes are also called phagolysosomes and pinolysosomes. These are terms only for specific functions related to these tiny organelles. What you should know is that lysosomes have a lot of jobs to be done here and there inside a cell.

Sometimes specific tasks are needed to be done at specific spots. These functions or tasks characterize a lysosome with certain specific names.

The fusion state of a primary lysosome with a phagosome state organelle creates The Phagolysomes. This is very specific to its functionality. On the other hand, The fusion of a primary lysosome with a pinosome will lead to the formation of Pinolysosomes.

Final Words-Lysosomes are not Present in Plants. This is all I have to say. Now, What is your stand- Do plants have lysosomes? What do you think? Write down your thoughts and comment below and share your ideas.

Reference: –Wikipedia


Hi, My name is Sukant. I am an I.T professional. Gardening for me is not only a hobby, its a way of living life with nature. Due to my Family background as Commercial Farmers for more than 3 generations: I personally feel attached to the green. I am not an expert, I'm here just to share my 25 years of experience in gardening. Believe me Its always Refreshing.

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