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Difference Between Spore and Vegetative Cells

Difference Between Spore and Vegetative Cells: An Introduction

Last updated date: 16th Mar 2023
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There are two types of cells called spores and vegetative cells that are produced during the life cycles of animals, plants, and other lower species including fungi, algae, and prokaryotes. Spores are dispersive structures produced by plants, algae, fungi, and bacteria. Somatic cells are vegetative cells found in multicellular organisms. Spores are dormant as well as inactive cells. The endospore is formed by vegetative cells, which are developing cells. They can withstand stresses like radiation, heat, and chemicals unfavourable situations are impossible for them to handle.

What is a Spore?

Spores are single-celled structures that help in asexual reproduction. They are present in bacteria, algae, fungi, and non-flowering plants. Bacterial spores are not sexual in nature. Some microorganisms merely create spores as a form of defence. An organism is protected from harsh environmental circumstances by bacterial spores. Spores have lower water content and are often metabolically inactive.

When the right circumstances arise, spores can become active and develop into new organisms. In addition, some bacteria produce endospores which are inactive structures that emerge from the bacterial cell. They can withstand heat, radiation, chemicals, disinfectants, etc. Even after boiling, some endospores do not suffer any damage. Sporogenesis is the name given to the process of spore production. The spores develop into vegetative cells under ideal circumstances. Animals do not produce spores. They are made mainly by bacteria, fungi, and plants.

Bacteria-Produced Spores

To live in unfavourable environments, bacteria create spores; these spores are known as endosomes. They are very resilient and help in the organism's survival. Spores can withstand extreme temperatures, radiation, dehydration, and chemical exposure. When the bacteria's supply of carbon and nitrogen is severely limited, spores can also form.

Fungi-Produced Spores

Asexual or sexual reproduction can result in the formation of fungal spores, which are reproductive spores. They undergo mitosis to divide because they are haploid. Mitosis is the process by which two haploid cells fuse to produce dikaryotic spores. Meiosis occurs in these cells to create diploid spores. In a favourable environment, these spores develop into new individuals.

Algae-Produced Spores

Algal spores are primarily created through asexual reproduction, while they can sometimes be created through sexual reproduction. Red algae species generate spores. These spores are spread across bodies of water, where they develop into new organisms. Both motile and non-motile spores are produced by algae. Aplanospores, or non-motile spores, are produced by green algae.

Plant-Produced Spores

Spores are produced by vascular plants. A sporophytic generation is produced by the plants, and it results in haploid spores. Plants without seeds like mosses, liverworts, hornworts, etc. produce these spores.

What is a Vegetative Cell?

Vegetative cells are defined as metabolically active cells that form spores. Generally, vegetative cells grow instead of producing spores. These cells are weak against harsh environmental conditions and have high water content. Unlike spores, vegetative cells are sensitive to radiation, heat, chemicals, disinfectants, etc. These cells are reproductive and active.

Vegetative cells produce dormant structures called spores when the environment is unfavourable. They also exhibit significant levels of enzyme activity. The fungus' vegetative cells continue to develop into fungal hyphae. The vegetative cells of fungi have a substantial cell wall.

Similarities Between a Spore and a Vegetative Cell

  • Numerous organisms have vegetative cells and produce spores.

  • Spores produce vegetative cells, while vegetative cells produce spores.

  • Vegetative cells and spores are both crucial components of the life cycles of several organisms. 

Difference Between a Spore and a Vegetative Cell


Vegetative Cell

A spore is a tiny, inactive structure that some organisms make as a means of surviving harsh environmental conditions.

A functional, normally growing cell is referred to as a vegetative cell.

A spore is generally inactive.

A vegetative cell is an active cell.

Spores are not metabolically active and growing.

Vegetative cells are metabolically active and growing.

Spores are immune to chemicals, radiation, heat, and other stresses.

Vegetative cells are not immune to heat, radiation, chemicals, etc.

Spores can exist without food.

Without nutrition, vegetative cells cannot thrive.

Spores don't have much water in them.

Vegetative cells have a high level of water content.

Spores contain a lot of calcium.

Vegetative cells have less calcium.

Spores can last for months or even years in the environment.

The lifespan of a vegetative cell is considerably shorter.

Key Features

  • Vegetative cells and spores are two features seen in the life cycles of some organisms.

  • A vegetative cell is one that is typically developing. Additionally, its metabolism is active and working but it cannot withstand extreme environmental conditions.

  • As a means of survival, vegetative cells release spores when they are unable to withstand extreme environmental circumstances.

  • Spores are structures that are dormant and can withstand radiation, chemicals, heat, etc. This is how spores and vegetative cells differ from one another. This article helps to understand spores and vegetative cells and how they differ from each other in detail. It has provided all the information regarding the difference between spore and vegetative cells.

Important Questions

1. What is the importance of spores?

Ans: Spores are involved in the process of reproduction. As a form of defence, certain bacteria produce spores. Spore walls are very thick. They can withstand extreme temperatures, moisture, and other environmental factors.

2. What is the role of vegetative cells?

Ans: The pollen tube that carries the sperm to the embryo sac is made by the vegetative cell. The zygote is created when one sperm cell fertilises the egg, and the endosperm is created when the secound sperm cell fuses with the central cell.

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FAQs on Difference Between Spore and Vegetative Cells

1. Do vegetative cells have spores?

The typical living cells that are metabolically active are known as vegetative cells. When the environmental circumstances are not favourable for vegetative cells to survive, vegetative cells create tiny structures known as spores.

2. What is the difference between endospores and vegetative cells?

Endospores are inactive, whereas vegetative cells are biologically active.  Endospores are more susceptible to change, but vegetative cells are more resilient because of their metabolic activities.

3. What is called spore formation?

Asexual reproduction involves the formation of spores. Sporangia, which are large sacs, contain a lot of spores. The spore sac bursts and the plants produce hundreds of spores. These spores are released into the atmosphere, where under the right circumstances they grow to produce a new plant. 

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