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Difference between Bacterial Cell and Animal Cell

A cell is the basic building block of life. It is the structural and functional unit of life. All living organisms like bacteria, animals or humans are made up of cells. The human body is made up of trillions of cells which provide structure for the body, take nutrients from the body and convert them into energy.

Bacterial and animal cell are two types of living cells. Bacterial cell belongs to kingdom Monera and animal cell belongs to the kingdom "Animalia". Bacteria are unicellular organisms (consist of a single cell or they exist as a single cell) and animals are multicellular organisms as they are made of many cells. Let us see how a bacterial cell differs from an animal cell.

Bacterial Cell

A bacterial cell is a prokaryotic cell. It is a simple, unicellular microorganism which means all life processes like feeding, digestion, and reproduction occur in one cell. It lacks the membrane-bound nucleus and organelles like mitochondria, lysosomes and other specialized cellular structures to perform cellular functions like energy production, transport of proteins etc. The cell wall of the bacterial cell is made up of glycoprotein, murein. Its main function is to provide support, mechanical strength and rigidity to the bacterial cell. It lacks the well-defined nucleus; its nucleus is known as nucleoid which is an irregularly shaped region in the cell that contains separate circular pieces of DNA (genetic material) called plasmids.

Animal Cell

Animal cells are eukaryotic cells. They are the basic unit of life of organisms which belong to kingdom Animalia. They have a well-defined membrane-bound nucleus, cytoplasm surrounded by plasma membrane and membrane-bound cell organelles in the cytoplasm to perform specific cellular functions necessary for the normal functioning of the cell. They can be of various sizes and shapes. Their size generally ranges between 1 and 100 micrometers.

Based on the above information, some of the key differences between bacterial cell and animal cell are as follows;

Bacterial Cell Animal Cell
It does not have a well-defined, membrane-enclosed nucleus. It contains a well-defined membrane-enclosed nucleus.
It does not have cell organelles. Membrane-bound cell organelles are present in the cytoplasm.
It is much smaller in size than an animal cell, e.g. 0.2 to 10 micron in size. It is larger than a bacterial cell, e.g. 100 microns or more.
It has a well-defined cell wall. It lacks the cell wall.
They are generally autotrophs and maybe heterotrophs. They are always heterotrophs.
They reproduce asexually by binary fission and sexually by conjugation. They can reproduce asexually by mitosis and sexually by meiosis.
It has plasmids (circular DNA in the cytosol). It lacks the plasmids. It has well-defined linear DNA in the nucleus.
It has a single chromosome. It has many chromosomes.
It does not have mitochondria. It has mitochondria in the cytoplasm.
It has well-defined cell shape. It has irregular shapes as it lacks the cell wall.
Some bacteria have fimbria on the cell surface. It lacks fimbria.
It lacks the cytoskeleton. It has cytoskeleton (a network of filaments and tubules in the cytoplasm).
It lacks histone proteins. Its DNA is wrapped around histone proteins.
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