Protoplasm is the living contents of a cell that are surrounded by a
plasma membrane.cite book |author=Cammack, Richard; Teresa Atwood; Attwood, Teresa K.; Campbell, Peter Scott; Parish, Howard I.; Smith, Tony; Vella, Frank; Stirling, John |title=Oxford dictionary of biochemistry and molecular biology |publisher=Oxford University Press |location=Oxford [Oxfordshire] |year=2006 |isbn=0-19-852917-1] This term is not commonly used in modern cell biology. Protoplasm is composed of a mixture of small molecules such as ions, amino acids, monosaccharides and water, and macromolecules such as nucleic acids, proteins, lipids and polysaccharides. In eukaryotes the protoplasm surrounding the cell nucleusis known as the cytoplasmand that inside the nucleus as the nucleoplasm. In prokaryotes the material inside the plasma membrane is the bacterial cytoplasm, while in gram-negative bacteriathe region outside the plasma membrane but inside the outer membrane is the periplasm.
Protoplasm is the living
substanceinside the cell, and is distinct from non-living cell components lumped under " ergastic substances" or inclusion bodies, although ergastic substances can occur in the protoplasm. In many plant cells most of the volume of the cell is not occupied by protoplasm, but by " tonoplast," a large water filled vacuoleenclosed by a membrane. A protoplastis a plant or fungal cell that has had its cell wall removed.
History of the term
The word "protoplasm" comes from the Greek "protos" for "first", and "plasma" for "thing formed". It was first used in 1846 by
Hugo von Mohlto describe the "tough, slimy, granular, semi-fluid" substance within plant cells, to distinguish this from the cell wall, cell nucleusand the cell sapwithin the vacuole. [ [http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Protoplasm Protoplasm] 1911 Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica] Thomas Huxley later referred to it as the "physical basis of life" and considered that the property of life resulted from the distribution of molecules within this substance. Its composition, however, was mysterious and there was much controversy over what sort of substance it was.citation | author = Harvey, E. N. | year = 2004 | title = Some Physical Properties of Protoplasm | journal = Journal of Applied Physics | volume = 9 | pages = 68 | doi = 10.1063/1.1710397 | url = http://link.aip.org/link/?JAPIAU/9/68/1] Unsurprisingly, attempts to investigate the origin of lifethrough the creation of synthetic "protoplasm" in the laboratory were not successful.citation | author = Lazcano, A.; Capone, S.; Walde, P.; Seebach, D.; Ishikawa, T.; Caputo, R. | year = 2008 | title = What Is Life? A Brief Historical Overview | journal = Chemistry & Biodiversity | volume = 5 | pages = 1 | doi = 10.1002/cbdv.200890001 | url = http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/cbdv.200890001]
The idea that protoplasm is divisible into a ground substance called "cytoplasm" and a structural body called the
cell nucleusreflects the more primitive knowledge of cell structure that preceded the development of electron microscopy, when it seemed that cytoplasm was a homogeneous fluid and the existence of most sub-cellular compartments, or how cells maintain their shape, was unknown.citation | author = Satir, P. | year = 2005 | title = Tour of organelles through the electron microscope: A reprinting of Keith R. Porter's classic Harvey Lecture with a new introduction | journal = The Anatomical Record Part A: Discoveries in Molecular, Cellular, and Evolutionary Biology | volume = 287A | pages = 1184-1204 | doi = 10.1002/ar.a.20222 | url = http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/112138393/HTMLSTART] Today, it is known that the cell contents are structurally very complex and contain multiple organelles.
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