The portal has been deactivated. Please contact your portal admin.

Question Video: Identifying the Function of the Vacuole in a Plant Cell Biology

The diagram shows the basic structure of a plant cell, with the key organelles labeled. Which of the following is a major function of the vacuole in a plant cell? [A] To provide the site for aerobic respiration [B] To provide the site for protein synthesis [C] To support the cell turgidity and store nutrients [D] To selectively allow substances to move in and out of the plant cell

02:46

Video Transcript

The diagram provided shows the basic structure of a plant cell, with the key organelles labeled. Which of the following is a major function of the vacuole in a plant cell? (A) To provide the site for aerobic respiration. (B) To provide the site for protein synthesis. (C) To support the cell turgidity and store nutrients. Or (D) to selectively allow substances to move in and out of the plant cell.

The presence of a large, central vacuole is a defining feature of plant cells and serves as the main storage organelle. The solution inside the vacuole is known as cell sap. It is a mix of water and other substances, which vary depending upon the plant species and the type of plant cell containing the vacuole. These other substances can include salts, minerals, proteins and other nutrients, pigments, and even waste products.

When a vacuole is full of water, it pushes the cell contents outwards. This serves two important purposes. First, it maintains a state of turgidity by applying pressure to the inside of the flexible cell surface membrane. The membrane expands into the spaces of the rigid cell wall, giving the cell its shape and rigidity. Second, the outward pressure applied by the vacuole pushes the chloroplasts toward the surface of the cell so they can better access sunlight for photosynthesis.

Although our question asks about the role of the vacuole in plant cells, this is a good time to note that animal cells also have vacuoles. However, animal cell vacuoles are larger in number but smaller in size. They are typically involved in metabolic or cellular transport processes.

Now, let’s take a look at our answer options. You may remember learning that organelles called mitochondria are the site of aerobic respiration, so we can rule out choice (A). The site of protein synthesis is usually considered to be the ribosomes, and the vacuole is not involved in protein synthesis. So, we can eliminate answer (B). Answer choice (C) refers to an organelle that supports cell turgidity and stores nutrients. This lines up with what we learned about the roles of plant vacuoles, but just to be sure this is the best answer, let’s check the remaining option.

Option (D) refers to a structure that selectively allows substances in and out of plant cells. This describes the role of the cell wall and cell surface membrane, not the vacuole. So, we can confirm that the correct answer is option (C). The major functions of the vacuole in a plant cell are to support cell turgidity and store nutrients.

Nagwa uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more about our Privacy Policy.