Difference between Cytoplasm and Protoplasm

What is Cytoplasm

The cell is the functional unit of our body. The cytoplasm is considered as a crucial part of the cell. It is the jelly-like fluid inside the cell surrounding all internal structures of the cell. The cytoplasm is filled within each cell. It is enclosed by a cell membrane. The cytoplasm is mainly composed of water, salt, and proteins. In Eukaryotic cells, all organelles are located in cytoplasms such as the nucleus, endoplasmic reticulum, and mitochondria. The portion of Cytoplasm that is not contained in organelle is called cytosol. The cytoplasm is also called as “The powerhouse of the cell.” In 1831,  Robert Brown was the scientist who discovered cytoplasm. The actual name “ Cytoplasm” was given in 1874.

Difference Between Cytoplasm And Protoplasm


  • The cytoplasm is highly organized. It may appear to have no form or structure. The cytoskeleton is a framework of protein scaffolds which provides the cytoplasm with their structure.

  • The cytoplasm also contains chromatin including plant and animal cells. Cytosol fills the spaces and all the Cell organelle are suspended in it.

  • Many different molecules are dissolved in cytoplasm like enzymes, fatty acids, sugars, and amino acids. All of these help the cell to work.  Waste products are also dissolved in Cytoplasm.


  • Protoplasm is a translucent substance. It is considered as a living substance. The protoplasm is derived from the Greek word "Protos" which means the first and "plasma" means things formed. 

  • It is a jelly-like material that encloses the cell membrane, the cytoplasm, and the nucleus. It consists of about 90% of water, lipids, salt proteins, and carbohydrates. 

  • Protoplasm is a colorless, selectively permeable, granular, elastic, and colloidal substance.

3 Differences Between Cytoplasm And Protoplasm 

General Difference

  • The protoplasm is bounded by a cell membrane from all sides. While Cytoplasm is surrounding the nucleus in a cell.

  • The cytoplasm contains organelles, Cytosol, enzymes, proteins Whereas, the Protoplasm contains Cytoplasm and nucleus.

  • The cytoplasm is composed of water, salt, and protein whereas the Protoplasm is composed of liquids, carbohydrates, proteins, and a nucleus.

Structural Difference 

The main structural difference is that the Cytoplasm does not contain a nucleus and Protoplasm has a nucleus. 

Functional Difference

Functions of Cytoplasm 

  • Mitochondria help in cellular respiration.

  • The process of glycolysis and cell division takes place in the cytoplasm.

  • The cytoplasm is responsible for holding the components of the cell and protect them from damage.

  • Cytoplasm provides shape to the cell.

  • The cytoplasm contains various chemicals.

  • Processes such as cellular respiration for breathing, synthesizing proteins are supported by cytoplasm.

  • Cytoplasm helps in mitosis and meiosis cell division.

  • Cytoplasm helps in moving items around in the cell by a  process called cytoplasmic streaming.

  • The cytoplasm has numerous salts so it can conduct electricity. 

  • Cytoplasm acts as a buffer to protect the genetic material of the cell.

Functions of Protoplasm

  • As Protoplasm is a translucent, viscid, and watery substance, it provides shape to the organism. 

  • Protoplasm responds to stimuli and also it helps to get rid of excretory products.

Comparison Chart



The cytoplasm is called a powerhouse of the cell. The cytoplasm is part of the protoplasm.

Protoplast is considered a physical basis of life. Protoplasm contains cytoplasm along with cell membrane and nucleus.

Cytoplasm is a fluid in the consistency.

Protoplasm is a colloidal semifluid in the consistency.

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What Would Happen To The Cell Without Cytoplasm?

Without Cytoplasm, a cell could not retain its shape which means, the cell would be deflated and flat. The organelles would not stay suspended in a solution of a cell without the support of Cytoplasm.

Parts of Cytoplasm 

  • The cytoplasm has two main parts or components. The Endoplasm and Ectoplasm. The endoplasm is located in the central area of the cytoplasm containing organelles. 

  • Gel-like substance on the outer surface of the cytoplasm is called Ectoplasm.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are the characteristics of Cytoplasm?

The cytoplasm is a heterogeneous mixture of organic compounds and opaque granules. These two components give colloidal nature to the suspended organelles.

  • Cytoplasm holds different shapes and sizes of particles in it.

  • The cytoplasm contains 20- 25℅ soluble and proteins that include enzymes, carbohydrates, lipids, and inorganic salts.

  • The cytoplasm is 90℅ water and 10℅ of organic and inorganic compounds.

  • The cytoplasm contains mitochondria. Being an organelle, mitochondria generate power by the conversion of energy forms which is needed to cell. 

  • Ribosomes of Cytoplasm consists of proteins and DNA. Ribosomes have the important task of assembling all the proteins in the cell.

  • Lysosomes of Cytoplasm contains 50 different enzymes that digest proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids.

  • The endoplasmic reticulum produces process and transport proteins, lipids for all the components in a cell.

  • Golgi apparatus performs the function of manufacturing, storing, and shipping cellular products from the endoplasmic reticulum.

2. What is Cyclosis?

Cytoplasmic streaming or Cyclosis is a process by which substances move around in a cell. Cyclosis is observed in different types of cells such as amoeba, plant cells, fungi, and protozoa.

Factors affecting streaming movement are temperature, light, hormones, or chemicals. Cyclosis is the activity of microfilm. Here, the motor proteins can move organelles and molecules within the cytoplasm. The purpose of cyclosis is to enable materials to reach all parts of a cell including oxygen and nutrients. Cyclosis is observed in large plant and animal cells. Cytoplasmic streaming occurs in one direction along the actin occurs. Cytoplasmic streaming enables chloroplasts to move around to maximize light absorption necessary for photosynthesis.