Difference Between Cytoplasm and Protoplasm

Key difference - cytoplasm vs. protoplasm

Living cells consist mainly of cell membrane and cytoplasm. In addition, plant cells have a cell wall that surrounds the cell membrane. Cytoplasm and protoplasm are two terms that describe the living part of cells. More specifically, cytoplasm is the cellular substance between the cell membrane and the nucleus that contains the cytosol, organelles, cytoskeleton and various particles, while protoplasm is the living contents of a cell surrounded by the cell membrane. The protoplasm consists of the nucleus, the cell membrane and the cytoplasm. Therefore, the cytoplasm is part of the protoplasm. For this reason, the names of these two components are often used interchangeably. As explained above, however, there is a clear difference between the cytoplasm and protoplasm. The main difference between cytoplasm and protoplasm can be described as the presence of the nucleus ; the protoplasm is made up of the nucleus, the cytoplasm is not .

What is cytoplasm?

Cytoplasm is the fluid that fills the inside of the cell; it is the component between the cell membrane and the cell nucleus. Organelles are embedded in the cell's cytoplasm. The composition of the cytoplasm is similar to that of the protoplasm. It consists mainly of water, salts and proteins. It is also made up of strands of protein that help hold the cell components in place.

Cytoplasm consists mainly of organelles such as Golgi bodies, mitochondria, chloroplasts (in plant cells), lysosomes, peroxisomes, endoplasmic reticulum, and ribosomes.

Difference Between Cytoplasm and Protoplasm

Plant cell structure

What is Protoplasm?

Protoplasm includes the components, the cell membrane and everything that is covered by the cell membrane. Hence, it can be divided into two components as the cytoplasm and the nucleus. The appearance of the protoplasm varies with the amount of water it contains. Therefore, the physical properties can be either more liquid (sol) or more gel-like (gel).

Protoplasm contains both organic and inorganic substances;

Inorganic substances - water (contains 90% of the protoplasm), minerals , salts (NaCl), gases (O 2 , CO 2 )

Organic substances - proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids

The amounts of the above components can be varied depending on the position of the cells in the body. The nucleus, which is located in the protoplasm, contains nucleoplasm. In prokaryotic organisms, however, nucleoplasm (bioplasm) cannot be differentiated because they lack a nucleus.

Functions of the protoplasm

Cell growth and division - cytoplasm enlarges prior to cell division and the nucleus is involved in nucleus division.

Carrying out chemical processes - part of the reactions of photosynthesis and respiration takes place in the cytoplasm.

Excretory waste management - Excretory waste is disposed of through the cell membrane.

Difference Between Cytoplasm and Protoplasm

Since the cytoplasm is part of the protoplasm, there are very few differences


Cytoplasm is the fluid made up of all of its contents outside of the nuclear sand that is trapped in a cell's cell membrane.

Protoplasm is the colorless material made up of the living part of a cell, including the cytoplasm, the nucleus, and other organelles.


Cytoplasm is the liquid part of the protoplasm.

Protoplasm is the collection of the cell membrane, the cytoplasm and the cell nucleus.


Protoplasm includes the nucleus.

The nucleus is not contained in the cytoplasm.

Chemical constituents

Both cytoplasm and protoplasm have the same chemical components. E.g. water, salts and proteins

Difference Between Cytoplasm and Protoplasm - Infographic

Image courtesy:

"Plant cell structure-de" by LadyofHats - homemade with Adobe Illustrator. (Public Domain) via Commons

About the author: admin