Difference Between Plant and Animal Tissue

Main difference – Plant vs Animal Tissue

All living organisms including animals, plants, and microbes are made up of cells. Typically, animals and plants are multicellular while the microbes are unicellular. The cells in multicellular organisms are grouped to perform functional units called tissues. Tissues consist of similar types of cells performing the same function. Plant tissue comprises both living and non-living cells; therefore, the energy demand of plant tissue is less. In contrast, animal tissue comprises living cells; therefore, animal tissues require more energy. The main difference between plant tissue and animal tissue is that plant tissue provides the structural support while animal tissue aids in the locomotion.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is a Plant Tissue
      – Definition, Characteristics, Classification
2. What is an Animal Tissue
      – Definition, Characteristics, Classification
3. What are the Similarities Between Plant and Animal Tissue
      – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Plant and Animal Tissue
      – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms: Animal tissue, Connective Tissue, Epithelial Tissue, Meristematic Tissue, Multicellular Organisms, Muscle Tissue, Nerve tissue, Permanent Tissue, Plant TissueDifference Between Plant Tissue and Animal Tissue - Comparison Summary

What is a Plant Tissue

A plant tissue is a group of cells that is specialized to perform a specific function inside the plant body. The plant cells comprise a cellulose cell wall as well as several vacuoles. They also contain chlorophyll-like photosynthetic pigments to produce simple sugars inside the cells. Since a plant is an immobile organism, most of the plant cells are involved in providing the structural support to the plant. Plant tissues can be categorized into two types based on the organization of the cells: meristematic tissue and permanent tissue.

Meristematic Tissue

The meristematic tissue is capable of dividing throughout the lifetime of a plant whereas the permanent tissue is incapable of dividing. The three types of meristematic tissue in the plant are the apical meristem, intercalary meristem, and the lateral meristem. The apical meristem is located near the apices of the shoot and root. It gives rise to the cells in the three types of primary meristems; the protoderm, procambium, and the ground meristem. The apical meristem is involved in the primary growth of the plant by increasing the length of the shoot and root. The intercalary meristem is involved in increasing the girth in monocots. The lateral meristem gives rise to the vascular cambium.

Permanent Tissue

The permanent tissue of plants can be divided into two categories; simple permanent tissue and complex permanent tissue. The simple permanent tissue is composed of similar types of cells. The three types of simple permanent tissue are parenchyma, collenchyma, and sclerenchyma. The parenchyma tissue is composed of thin-walled, spherical shaped, living cells. Most of the cells in the plants are parenchyma cells. The collenchyma is composed of thick-walled, living cells. The sclerenchyma cells consist of thick, secondary cell walls.

Difference Between Plant and Animal Tissue_Figure 1

Figure 1: Plant Tissues

The complex permanent tissue is composed of several types of cells. The two types of complex permanent tissues are xylem and the phloem. Xylem conducts water and minerals from roots to leaves. The four types of cells in the xylem are tracheids, vessels, xylem fibers and xylem parenchyma. Phloem conducts organic substances throughout the plant body. The four types of cells in the phloem are sieve cells, companion cells, phloem fibers, and the phloem parenchyma. The classification of plant tissues is shown in figure 1

Dermal Tissue, Ground Tissue, and Vascular Tissue

The simple permanent tissue forms tissue systems such as epidermal tissue and ground tissue. The dermal tissue consists of the epidermis and the periderm. The epidermis is a single cell layer that serves as the ‘skin’ of the plant. The cuticle, which prevents the water loss from leaves, is secreted by the epidermis of the leaves. The guard cells in the epidermis help the gas exchange. The periderm is the bark of the stem, which undergoes the secondary growth. It consists of the cork cells, phelloderm, and the cork cambium. The bark helps the gas exchange through lenticels and prevent the water loss by the Casparian strips.

Main Difference - Plant vs Animal Tissue

Figure 2: Stem
1 – Pith, 2 – Protoxylem, 3 – Secondary xylem, 4 – Primary phloem, 5 – Sclerenchyma, 6 – Cortex, 7 – Epidermis

The parenchyma, collenchyma, and sclerenchyma cells collectively produce the ground tissue of the plant, which carries out photosynthesis and the storage of food. Most of the living and metabolizing cells can be found in the ground tissue. The sclerenchyma cells provide structural support to the plant. The complex permanent tissue forms the vascular tissue, which consists of both xylem and phloem together. A cross section of a stem is shown in figure 2

What is an Animal Tissue

An animal tissue is a group of similar cells that is specialized to perform a specific function in the animal body. The animal cells do not contain cell walls and vacuoles. They also lack photosynthetic pigments. Therefore, animal tissues are incapable of producing their own food inside the cells. The nutrients should be transported to the animal cells in order to perform their functions. There are four types of animal tissues known as epithelial tissue, muscle tissue, nerve tissue and connective tissue.

Difference Between Plant and Animal Tissue

Figure 3: Animal tissue

Epithelial Tissue

The tissue that lines the surfaces and the cavities is known as the epithelial tissue. The epithelial tissue also produces glands, which secrete organic substances such as hormones and enzymes. The cells in the epithelial tissue are tightly connected to each other by cell junctions. The apical surface of the tissue is exposed to the cavity or to the external environment. The basal surface of the tissue is attached to the underlying surface. Based on the number of cell layers in the tissue, it is divided into two; simple epithelial tissue (single cell layer) and stratified epithelial tissue (several cell layers). The shapes of the cells in the epithelial tissue can be squamous, columnar, or cuboidal.

Muscle Tissue

The tissue that aids for the movement of the body parts and locomotion of the animal is referred to as the muscle tissue. The major function of the muscle tissue is the contraction. The cells in the muscle tissue are elongated cells and are called muscle fibers. These cells contain actin and myosin proteins, which are involved in the contraction of the muscle. The three types of muscles are smooth muscles, skeletal muscles, and cardiac muscles. The smooth muscles are found in the walls of hollow organs, involved in the internal movements of the body. The skeletal muscles are attached to the bones, moving the body parts. The cardiac muscles are found in the heart, aiding the circulation of blood and lymph throughout the body.

Nerve Tissue

The tissue that coordinates the functions of the body is referred to as the nerve tissue. The nerve tissue is composed of nerve cells and neuroglia. These cells are arranged in the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system consists of the brain and the spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system consists of peripheral nerves, which transmit nerve impulses towards the central nervous system (sensory neurons) and from central nervous system (motor neurons).

Connective Tissue

The tissue that is involved in binding, support, and transport in animals is known as the connective tissue. The connective tissue is made up of cells and the extracellular matrix. The extracellular matrix is composed of protein fibers and ground substances. It is secreted by the cells in the connective tissue. The protein fibers are made up of collagen and elastin. The five types of cartilage tissue are areolar, reticular, adipose, fluid, skeletal, and supporting connective tissues. The examples of each connective tissues are shown in table 1.

Examples of Connective Tissues

Type

Examples

Areolar

Surrounds the blood vessels, nerve fibers, organs, and muscles

Reticular

Surround the kidney, spleen, lymph nodes, and bone marrow

Adipose

Adipocytes

Fluid

Blood, Lymph

Skeletal

Bone, cartilage

Supporting

Tendon, Ligament

Similarities Between Plant Tissue and Animal Tissue

  • Plant tissue and animal tissue comprise similar types of cells performing a similar function.
  • The cells in each tissue possess the same origin.
  • Both plant tissues and animal tissues produce organ and organ systems.
  • Both plant and animal tissues use cellular respiration to release chemical energy in the form of ATP to power their functions.

Difference Between Plant and Animal Tissue

Definition

Plant Tissue: Plant tissues are groups of cells that are specialized to perform specific functions in the plant body.

Animal Tissue: Animal tissues are groups of cells that are specialized to perform specific functions in the animal body.

Stationary/Locomotive Phase

Plant Tissue: Plant tissues are in the stationary phase.

Animal Tissue: Animal tissues are in the locomotive phase.

Living/Non-living Cells

Plant Tissue: Plant tissue consists of both living and non-living cells.

Animal Tissue: Animal tissue consists of only living cells.

Energy Demand

Plant Tissue: Plant tissues require less energy.

Animal Tissue: Animal tissues require high energy.

Nutritional Type

Plant Tissue: Most of the plant tissues are capable of producing their own food by photosynthesis.

Animal Tissue: Animal tissues possess heterotrophic modes of nutrition and require food from the outside.

Growth

Plant Tissue: Most plant tissues possess an unlimited growth.

Animal Tissue: Animal tissues possess a limited growth.

Differentiation

Plant Tissue: Most of the plant tissues are capable of differentiating from one tissue to another.

Animal Tissue: Typically, animal tissues are incapable of differentiating from one tissue to another.

Role

Plant Tissue: Most plant tissues provide mechanical support.

Animal Tissue: Most animal tissues support locomotion.

Types

Plant Tissue: Plant tissues can be divided into three types; epidermal tissue, ground tissue, and vascular tissue.

Animal Tissue: Animal tissue can be divided into four; epithelial tissue, connective tissue, muscle tissue, and nerve tissue.

Conclusion

Plant tissues and animal tissues are made up of similar types of cells performing a unique function. The main difference between plant and animal tissue is their functions; plant tissues provide structural support to the plant whereas animal tissues help the locomotion. 

Reference:

1.“Plant Tissues and Organ Systems – Boundless Open Textbook.” Boundless, 26 May 2016, Available here. Accessed 28 Aug. 2017.
2. Bailey, Regina. “Explore the Inner Life of Plant Tissue Systems.” ThoughtCo, Available here. Accessed 28 Aug. 2017.
3. “Classification of Tissue Types.” Classification of (Animal) Tissue Types – Epithelial Tissue, Connective Tissue, Muscular Tissue, Nervous Tissue, Available here. Accessed 28 Aug. 2017.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Stem-histology-cross-section-tag” By SuperManu – own work based on Image: Labeledstemforposter copy.jpg by Ryan R. McKenzie (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Four types of tissue” (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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