Central Vacuole in Plant Cells: Definition & Function

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: What Is Primary Succession? - Definition & Examples

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:02 What Is the Central…
  • 0:48 Function of the…
  • 2:15 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Derrick Arrington

Derrick has taught biology and chemistry at both the high school and college level. He has a master's degree in science education.

Plant cells are composed of numerous organelles that work together in all aspects of the plant's life. In this lesson, you will learn about the central vacuole of plant cells.

?!!!What is the Central Vacuole in Plant Cells?

If you've ever looked at a diagram of a plant cell, you probably noticed one organelle that stands out and is larger than all of the others. This organelle is known as the central vacuole. The central vacuole is a membrane-bound organelle containing water and other enzymes that function during the life of the plant. Structurally, the central vacuole is surrounded by a phospholipid bilayer.

Phospholipids are molecules with a head and tail that form the majority of membranes in our body. They align themselves in a certain manner and are able to selectively allow certain molecules to enter and exit the cells or organelles they surround. The size and shape of the central vacuole depends on the type of cell they are in and their specific function.

Function of the Central Vacuole in Plant Cells

Central vacuoles are very versatile and can serve numerous important functions in the cells of plants. Central vacuoles are large containers. In this sense, they can be used to contain cellular waste and to isolate materials that may be harmful to the cell. Plant cells produce waste just like humans or any other animals produce waste. What do you do when you have something you no longer need? You probably throw it in the trash. Plant cells often encounter foreign materials that they do not need or have worn out cellular parts. If these items were left to float around in the cell, they could cause damage. To prevent this, the cell can use the central vacuole like a garbage can to hold the obsolete material until it can be moved out of the cell.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?
I am a teacher

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 95 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account