Non-Membrane Bound Organelles: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:01 What Are Organelles?
  • 0:27 Non-Membrane Bound Organelles
  • 1:19 Examples
  • 2:58 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Joanne Abramson

Joanne has taught middle school and high school science for more than ten years and has a master's degree in education.

What do we mean when we say one organelle is membrane-bound and another isn't? And what creates this distinction anyway? Complete this lesson to learn the answers to this and more!

What Are Organelles?

In your body, you have organ systems to take care of the necessities of life, like eating, breathing, moving, and pumping blood. Although individual cells are much, much smaller, they also have specialized structures that allow them to complete their life functions. In cells, these structures are referred to as organelles, which actually means 'little organs'.

Non-Membrane Bound Organelles

In addition to organelles, you can find a thick fluid inside cells. This fluid is called cytoplasm. All of the internal parts of the cell are floating in cytoplasm.

Many organelles are also filled with a fluid. These fluid-filled organelles are surrounded by a plasma membrane to separate their insides from the rest of the cytoplasm. These are the so-called membrane bound organelles, such as the lysosomes, Golgi complex, and mitochondria. By the way, the similarities between the terms cytoplasm and plasma membrane can help you remember and understand their meanings: the plasma membrane serves to create boundaries between objects in the cytoplasm.

Organelles that are not fluid-filled don't need to be separated from the rest of the cell in the same way, so they don't have a membrane. These are the non-membrane bound organelles.


Non-membrane bound organelles have a more solid make-up than the membrane-bound ones. They each have their own unique structure, function, and location within the cell. It can be quite difficult to remember the functions of all the different cellular organelles. A common tip is to write a poem or song that will stick in your memory. Suggestions are offered for each of the following organelles, but feel free to make up your own!

Ribosomes are present in every type of cell, from the simplest bacteria to the most complex animal cell. They are bundles of genetic material and protein that are the centers for protein production in the cell. Ribosomes can be found either free-floating in the cell or attached to the endoplasmic reticulum. And now the poem:

If proteins are what you need
ribosome is your man, indeed!

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