Friday, March 31, 2023
Mitochondrial Health

Mitochondria vs Chloroplast | 3 major differences [and 2 similarities]

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Thanks for stopping by. This is 2 minute classroom, and today we are comparing and contrasting mitochondria and chloroplast.

Maybe you’ve already learned about these two organelles and are just here for a refresher before a quiz or test or maybe you’re learning about these for the first time. I’ve been there and am here to give you what you need and send you on to success.

Let’s start with the differences.

You’re probably aware that chloroplasts are found in plant and algae cells and mitochondria are found in animal cells. This is true. But did you also know that mitochondria are found in nearly every plant cell, because, plants need energy too?

Which brings us to our next difference, their function.

Mitochondria, as I just mentioned, produce energy. They do this by utilizing oxygen to break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to produce carbon dioxide, water, and ATP, a very cool high-energy compound.

Chloroplasts, on the other hand, store energy in organic material by taking in carbon dioxide, water, and energy from the sun to produce oxygen and carbohydrates. This is the photosynthesis process.

So essentially, their functions are completely opposite yet complimentary.

The last major difference we’ll discuss is their appearance. Mitochondria are bean-shaped and essentially colorless. Chloroplasts on the other hand are disk-shaped and contain chlorophyll, which is a pigment that absorbs red and blue wavelengths and reflects green wavelengths of light, giving plants their green color.

Pretty rad.

Now onto some key similarities.

Both mitochondria and chloroplasts contain their own DNA that is separate from their cell’s DNA. That’s right, there’s more DNA than what’s in your nucleus.

This DNA is circular and used to create some of the proteins involved in their specific processes.

Why do mitochondria and chloroplasts have their own DNA?

Well, that brings us to our next key similarity, the endosymbiotic theory. Which, in my opinion, is one of the gnarliest scientific theories out there.

The endosymbiotic theory posits that mitochondria and chloroplasts were once bacteria that lived as single-cell organisms separate from any other organism. This is why they have their own DNA.

Then one day, a larger, more complex cell engulfed the pre-mitochondria cell and formed a symbiotic relationship, utilizing its compound breakdown and energy production capabilities. After. These would go on to become animal cells.

One of these early animal cells ingested a pre-chloroplast cell and became the parent of today’s plant cells.

If you do have a quiz or test coming up on this topic, check out this test prep playlist or download the free test prep guide in the description.

Thanks for watching, and I’ll catch you next time.


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