Though there are some similarities especially in structural elements, plant and animal cells do differ especially in functions. Animal and plant cells both have cytoplasm, cell membrane and a nucleus.
The cell walls of plants are made up of cellulose. Cellulose allows high pressure to build up within the plant cells without it bursting. This means that large amounts of liquid can be absorbed through osmosis into the cells and they will not burst or be destroyed. Animal cells, however, do not have such a cell wall, with too much liquid pressure within, animal cells burst.
Photosynthesis is a major part of the plant cell function. Through photosynthesis, sunlight is converted into food for the plant. Chloroplasts in plants have their own DNA which directs their work.
Under a microscope, the differences are quite noticeable. Plant cells have regular and similar shapes under the microscope. Animal cells are very different to each other in appearance. Plant cells contain a large vacuole in the cytoplasm. This vacuole takes up a large space in the cell and is surrounded by a membrane. The vacuole holds waste materials, nutrients, and water waiting to be used or secreted depending upon the plant’s needs. Animal cells also have vacuoles, but they are small and numerous.
There are many complex differences between plant and animal cells, but the basic ones are that animal cells vary in shape and size, have no chloroplasts, have no cell wall and have small and many vacuoles. Plant cells have chloroplasts, a cell wall, a large vacuole, and are regular shaped.