The key difference between Coacervates and Microspheres is that the coacervates have a single membrane while the microspheres have double membranes. Furthermore, the coacervates are aggregates of lipids while the microspheres are aggregates of proteinoids.
Origin of life is still in a debate, and there are several theories about it. According to Oparin-Haldane theory, simple molecules polymerized into complex molecules and then these complex molecules formed aggregates, which were known as coacervates and microspheres. Coacervates and microspheres are cell-like structures, and they resemble living cells. But, they do not show all the properties of cells. They form spontaneously in certain liquids. They are surrounded by a membrane. These structures are able to take certain substances inside them. Furthermore, chemical reactions can also occur within these structures.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What are Coacervates
3. What are Microspheres
4. Similarities Between Coacervates and Microspheres
5. Side by Side Comparison – Coacervates vs Microspheres in Tabular Form
What are Coacervates?
Coacervates are membrane-bound vesicles like structures, and they are microscopic. Moreover, it is assumed that they are formed by the aggregation of complex organic compounds mainly lipid compounds. They resemble living cells. However, they do not contain heredity material and all the properties which show by the living cells. Coacervates surround by a membrane-like a boundary. They are able to take substances from their surroundings and grow in size. Once grow into a certain limit, they divide and form new coacervates. Inside these coacervates, chemical reactions can happen easier than the outside.
More0ver, the word ‘coacervate’ was introduced by Oparin and according to him, coacervate is a structure which consists of a collection of organic molecules surrounded by a film of water molecules. He said coacervates are kind of protocells. But they are not live structures like cells.
What are Microspheres?
Microspheres are tiny droplet like structure made from the aggregation of organic molecules especially from proteinoids. The term ‘Microsphere’ was introduced by Sidney Fox. According to him, the microsphere is a non-living collection of organic macromolecules with double layered outer boundary. Similar to coacervates, microspheres are also able to absorb things from their surroundings. They are spherical in shape. Microspheres can bud and move.
Some people assume microspheres as first living cells. However, microspheres are not living structure. And also they do not contain heredity material like other living cells.
What are the Similarities Between Coacervates and Microspheres?
- Coacervates and Microspheres are cell-like structures.
- Both structures are not alive.
- Coacervates and Microspheres both are tiny spheres.
- Both have a membrane like a boundary.
- Coacervates and Microspheres occur in the environment.
- They can take up certain substances from their surroundings.
- Chemical reactions occur within both structures.
- Both form spontaneously due to chemical processes.
- Though they are similar to cells, they don’t contain heredity materials.
What is the Difference Between Coacervates and Microspheres?
Coacervates and microspheres are tiny spherical structures formed by the aggregations of lipids and proteins respectively. They are cell-like structures. But they do not contain all the properties of a living cell. Hence, they are not alive structures. Coacervates have a single membrane like boundary while microspheres have double membranes. This is the key difference between coacervates and microspheres.
Summary – Coacervates vs Microspheres
Coacervates and microspheres are droplets like structures, which are microscopic. Therefore, they appear as cells. But they are not true cells. They are set off from the environment. They form in certain liquids. Coacervates are aggregates of lipids while microspheres are aggregates of proteinoids. Both structures are microscopic. This is the difference between coacervates and microspheres.
1.“Origin of Life: Modern Theory of Origin of Life.” Your Article Library, 22 Feb. 2014. Available here
2.“Microsphere.” Egyptian Journal of Medical Human Genetics, Elsevier. Available here
1.’Coacervats’By Khayman – Own work, (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2.’Microspheres’By Matthew Staymates, Robert Fletcher, Greg Gillen – National Institute of Standards and Technology, (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
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