Difference Between Vacuoles and Vesicles

Vacuoles vs Vesicles

A cell is like a bag of chemicals. It is capable of survival and self replication. The cell is separated from the external environment by the cell membrane, which is a very thin membrane. The cell contains various types of organelles in its cytoplasm. These organelles include the nucleus, Golgi apparatus, mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, ribosomes, centrioles, vesicles etc.

What is Vacuole?

A vacuole appears like a thin membrane bound sac. It is a fluid filled sac. Vacuoles found in animal cells are relatively small vacuoles. Common vacuoles found in animal cells are phagocytic vacuoles, food vacuoles, contractile vacuoles etc. In plant cells, the vacuoles found are very large. The vacuole is very significant in those cells especially in parenchyma cells. The membrane surrounding the vacuole is called the tonoplast. The fluid found inside the vacuole is called the cell sap. The cell sap includes mineral salts, sugars, organic acids, oxygen, carbon dioxide, pigments, waste and certain secondary metabolites. Water enters the vacuole by osmosis through the partially permeable tonoplast. When water enters the vacuole a pressure builds inside the vacuole. Then the cytoplasm is pushed towards the cell wall. This is important in cell growth as well as in normal water relations of the plant. The pigments that are found inside the vacuoles are responsible for the color of flowers, fruits, buds and leaves. The colors of these structures are important to attract animals for seed dispersal and pollination. Sometimes plant vacuoles contain hydrolytic enzymes. When the cell becomes aged the tonoplast loses its partial permeability and the hydrolytic enzymes escape to the cytoplasm causing autolysis. Waste products and certain secondary metabolites also get accumulated in the vacuoles with time. Vacuoles also contain food reserves such as sugars and mineral salts which are used by the cytoplasm when required.

What is Vesicle?

Vesicle is also a sac, which is enclosed by a thin membrane. Those vesicles are used to store materials that can be naturally prepared or artificially prepared liposomes. Most vesicles have a specialized function allocated to them to be performed. Vesicles that are separated from the cytoplasm by one phospholipid bilayer are called unilamellar vesicles. The vesicles separated from the cytoplasm by more than one phospholipid bilayer are called multilamellar vesicles. Vesicles can perform different functions such as storage, transport and digestion of waste products. The membrane enclosing the vesicle is similar in nature to the plasma membrane. Therefore, the membrane of the vesicle can fuse with the plasma membrane, which allows the vesicle to release its products to the exterior of the cell. Since the vesicles are separated from the cytoplasm, sometimes, different conditions can be maintained inside the vesicles. Vesicles are sometimes used as chambers of chemical reactions. There are different types of vesicles such as vacuoles, lysosomes, transport vesicles, secretory vesicles and other types of vesicles.


What is the difference between Vacuole and Vesicle?

• Vacuoles are a type of vesicles. It is mostly a water-filled vesicle. 

• All vacuoles can be categorized as vesicles, but not all vesicles are vacuoles because, in addition to vacuoles, vesicles include lysosomes, transport vesicles, secretory vesicles etc.