Contractile vacuoles that were of star-shaped were first seen by scientist Spallanzani in protozoa in the year 1776. Dujardin named then as vacuoles in the year 1841. This term helped plant cells to easily differentiate its structure along with cell sap structure, from the remaining protoplasm. In the year 1885, scientist de Vries named “vacuoule membrane” as “tonoplast”.
Large sizes of vacuoles are generally found inside the three generations of filamentous sulfur bacteria namely, the Thioploca, the Beggiatoa and the Thiomargarita. The vacuoles in these cases occupy space from 40% to 98% of the entire space of the cell.
Most of the plant cells that have got matured have only single large sized vacuole in them. It occupies more than thirty percentage of the entire volume of the cell. They can even occupy eighty percentage of the entire volume for specific types and conditions of cells.
Vacuoles present in the cells of fungi perform the same type of functions to the one performed in plants. There can be more than a single vacuole in every cell. In case of yeast cells, a vacuole has a dynamic shape that quickly modifies its morphology.
The basic functions of a vacuole are to: