1. a large, fluid-filled compartment in the cytoplasm of a plant cell, or
  2. a smaller vesicle (a compartment that can involve cellular secretion, storage or nutrient uptake) in the cytoplasm of any eukaryotic cell

From the BioTech Dictionary at http://biotech.icmb.utexas.edu/. For further information see the BioTech homenode.

Vacuoles are membranous organelles of a eukaryotic cell. There are multiple types of vacuoles.

Food vacuoles are pieces of the plasma membrane that pinch off and detach from the rest of the plasma membrane around an incoming food particle. They attach to a lysosome in the cytoplasm and the lysosome?s enzymes digest the food within.

Contractile vacuoles pump out water from the cell by taking in water and then contracting, squeezing out the excess. This process is necessary for the cell to regulate its water content.

Vac"u*ole (?), n. [L. vacuus empty: cf. F. vacuole.] Biol.

A small air cell, or globular space, in the interior of organic cells, either containing air, or a pellucid watery liquid, or some special chemical secretions of the cell protoplasm.

Contractile vacuole. Zool. See under Contractile, and see Illusts. of Infusoria, and Lobosa. -- Food vacuole. Zool. See under Food, and see Illust. of Infusoria.

 

© Webster 1913.

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