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Difference between cytoplasm and protoplasm

The word Protoplasm is derived from the Greek word “protos” which means first and “plasma” which means “things formed”. Protoplasm is considered as the physical basis of life. The protoplasm of a cell consists of nucleus, cell membrane and cytoplasm. Thus, cytoplasm is a part of the protoplasm of a cell. Cytoplasm is not different from protoplasm but a part of it. Cytoplasm and protoplasm are cell suspensions and provide a site so that biological processes take place. The protoplasm is bound by a plasma membrane or cell membrane on all sides whereas cytoplasm is the substance which is present surrounding the nucleus within a cell.


The cytoplasm consists of cytosol, organelles and inclusions whereas the protoplasm consists of cytoplasm, nucleus and cellular membrane. Cytosol of cytoplasm consists of water, salts and organic molecules. Organelles are the tiny organ like structures present within a cell with predefined and specific functions. Inclusions are insoluble particles present in the cytoplasm.

Protoplasm is considered as the living substance inside the cell. It is a complex, translucent substance which is semi-fluid in consistency and composed mainly of nucleic acids, proteins, lipids, carbohydrates and inorganic salts.

Structural difference

The main difference between cytoplasm and protoplasm is that cytoplasm does not have a nucleus whereas protoplasm has a nucleus are its structure.  Cytoplasm is an organelle of the protoplasm which consists of mainly water and other substances like proteins, food reserves and metabolic wastes.

The protoplasm is a viscous, viscid substance with jelly-like consistency where many biological and chemical cellular processes take place. In the organisms which have the presence of a nucleus, the protoplasm surrounding the nucleus is termed as cytoplasm. All the contents of the cell are considered in the cytoplasm in prokaryotes (organisms lacking nucleus) whereas in the eukaryote organisms the cellular contents present in the nucleus are differentiated from the cytoplasm by a definite nuclear membrane. The contents present within the nucleus are called as nucleoplasm.

Chemical properties

Inorganic substances constituting the protoplasm are water majorly, mineral salts and gases.

Functional differences

The organelles present in the cytoplasm are golgi body, mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum and ribosomes. These organelles have very specific and different functions. Mitochondria have the function of cellular respiration whereas the ribosomes act as the sites of protein synthesis. Other important functions occurring in the cytoplasm are glycolysis and processes of cell division.  Protoplasm is also considered as living part of the cell as all the important processes needed for the living of the cell take place in the protoplasm. Protoplasm is also said to give shape to the organism as it is a translucent, viscid and watery substance. The living protoplasm responds to stimuli and also gets rid of excretory products.


The difference between protoplasm and cytoplasm is very minor. Protoplasm is the content of the cell including the cell membrane, cytoplasm and the cell nucleus whereas cytoplasm is the jelly like substance surrounding the nucleus within the cell membrane. The cytoplasm contains the cell organelles like mitochondria, ribosomes etc. In prokaryotes, where there is no well-defined nucleus, the cytoplasm also acts as the nucleoplasm and contains chromatin.

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  1. simple language but can be made be more interesting by more images

  2. Thanks . For Focusing on only useful details

  3. This airticle was very helpful and it really heloed me to clear my doubts. Thank you

  4. Great and lucid explanation

  5. This article is very brilliant

  6. Thanks for the information

  7. This text is 100.100 % helpful for me thanks

  8. Thnx for the answer

  9. It was very helpful

  10. Not so good it should be in a systematic manner and should be in tabulate manner ahhh I should go to another website

  11. Thank you very much

  12. Beautiful summary explained

  13. Very nice

  14. Very bad . It should be in a systematic manner.

  15. Clear understanding I really apreciated

    • Hello… please how do you understand that cause it seems it’s talking more on the same particular difference. Please can you further clarify…

  16. If prptoplasm consists of cell membrane, nucmeus and cytoplasm..then what is the difference between cell and protoplasm as the cell is having the same constituent??

  17. That was very helpful . Thank you

  18. Not nice not much knowledge full

  19. Nice presentation

  20. Sandar explanation

  21. Simplified and detailed


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