Q:

Who discovered vacuoles?

A:

Quick Answer

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek of the Netherlands discovered the vacuole in 1676. Van Leeuwenhoek is referred to as the father of microbiology because he was the first scientist to study bacteria under a microscope. He made many additional important discoveries in microbiology and made improvements to microscopes.

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Who discovered vacuoles?
Credit: Jan Verkolje / Public Domain Other

Full Answer

Vacuoles are tiny organisms present in all cells. They consist of chambers filled with fluids or solids. Their structure changes depending on the requirements of the cell. They are more prominent in cells of plants than in animals and bacteria. Purposes of the vacuole include regulating waste, maintaining pH balance and assisting plants with supporting their leaves and other structures.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the function of the large central vacuole in plant cells?

    A:

    The main function of the large central vacuole in plant cells is to provide structural support; however, it serves other functions such as protection, storage, growth and waste disposal. This large central vacuole typically occupies at least 80 percent of the space in the cell unlike the vacuoles of animal cells which are smaller in size and commonly used to transport substances or temporarily storing materials.

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  • Q:

    Who discovered plastids?

    A:

    The term "plastid" was coined by German biologist Ernst Haeckel in a paper he presented in 1866, but the term was too vague. In 1883, fellow German Andreas Schimper was the first to provide a clear definition to "plastid" and note the relationship between different types.

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  • Q:

    What does a vacuole do?

    A:

    Vacuoles vary in function between organisms and even within the same cell, but the most frequent use is the storage of water or nutrients. A vacuole is really a general-purpose, empty membrane organelle that is filled with whatever the cell needs to keep separate from the rest of the cytoplasm. As such, different vacuoles also store waste or even toxins, and some organisms have other uses for them.

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  • Q:

    What do contractile vacuoles in protists do?

    A:

    Contractile vacuoles in protists collect accumulated waste products and excess water from inside the cell. They expel these waste products into the environment by attaching to the cell wall, then contracting to release these products outside the cell.

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