Difference Between Cytosol and Cytoplasm

A cell is what makes every living being. The cell is what gives every individual’s structure and helps in proper functioning of these structures. They consist of various components that help in doing so.

Cytosol and cytoplasm are two such components of a cell. They are often misused because of their terms being similar. But one must know that their similarity ends with only the similarity in their terms.

Cytosol vs Cytoplasm

The main difference between the cytosol and cytoplasm is that the cytoplasm is the gelatine-like translucent fluid that fills the cells while cytosol is the liquid in the cytoplasm where the components are suspended.

Cytosol vs Cytoplasm

The cytoplasm is the transparent gelatinous fluid present between the walls of a cell. This fluid houses all the other components in the cell other than the nucleus. 

The cytosol is a component of the cell as well as cytoplasm. The liquid or aqueous part of the cytoplasm is called the cytosol. This is the where the organelles of the cytoplasm remain afloat.


Comparison Table Between Cytosol and Cytoplasm

Parameters of ComparisonCytosolCytoplasm
DefinitionThe liquid portion of the cytoplasm where the components are suspended.The gelatinous fluid that is present between the cell walls and nucleus.
Chemical reactionsTheir chemical reactions occur in the prokaryote.They usually involve greater cellular activities like glycolysis and cell division
Fundamental componentsWater, soluble small and large moleculesOrganelles, cytosol and cytoplasmic structures
CompositionMainly water along with ions, molecules and proteins of different sizes that are soluble.80% spherical water, nucleic acids, enzymes, lipids and amino acids
FunctionsIt makes sure the suspended and dissolved organelles are in the right place during metabolismThey freeze the organelles in the right position for efficient metabolism.


What is Cytosol?

The cytosol is that part of the cytoplasm where the organelles are suspended. They are the liquid portion. Since the cytoplasm does not include the nucleus, the cytosol also would not include the nucleus. It contains all the other organelles present between the cell walls and the nucleus.

Water constitutes most of the cytosol and that is why they are neutral. The metabolic and other chemical reactions of the prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells occur in the cytosol.

The cytosol is known to be a complex mixture of salt, water and dissolved ions and molecules. They protein filaments present in the cytosol are what forms the cytoskeleton filaments. The cytosol also performs various functions such as signal transduction, protein biosynthesis, rapid diffusion of larger water molecules, etc.

The cytosol is also the site for cell communication to take place along with the transport of the metabolites produced to the right sites for further functioning of the cells. The cytosol is also the site for cell communication and transportation of the metabolites produced to the right sites in the cell.


What is Cytoplasm?

The cytoplasm is the gelatinous translucent fluid present in between the cell walls and the nucleus and consists of every component present in the cell, excluding the nucleus. The cytoplasm is usually semi-fluid, colloidal, a colourless and flexible substance that is also highly viscous.

It is usually everything inside the plasma membrane in a prokaryotic cell. But in a eukaryotic cell, since it is having a nucleus it is everything in between the plasma membrane and the nucleus. 

The cytoplasm contains 80% spherical water, cytosol and organelles. The organelles are the various structure present in the cell for functioning like Golgi apparatus, mitochondria etc. 

Almost all the metabolic activities and functioning happen in the cytoplasm because it consists of all the organelles of a cell. Some of the activities include cell division, glycolysis, etc. 

Main Differences Between Cytosol and Cytoplasm

  1. The cytosol is the liquid component of the cytoplasm where all the organelles are suspended in their positions for efficient metabolism. The cytoplasm is a gelatinous translucent fluid that is present between the walls of the cell and the nucleus.
  2. Even though the cytosol is a component of the cytoplasm, the reactions concerning both are different. The cytosols make smaller reactions such as signal transduction and protein synthesis. Cytoplasm takes part in metabolic activities such as glycolysis and cell division. They have higher cellular needs than the ones performed by cytosol.
  3. The fundamental components of cytoplasm include the organelles, cytosol and the cytoplasmic structures necessary for cell functioning. The main components of cytosol are water, small and large soluble molecules that are suspended in the water or the liquid during metabolism.
  4. The composition of the cytosol and cytoplasm also vary to a great extent. The cytosol is composed of 70% water, soluble ions, soluble small and large molecules and proteins. While the composition of cytoplasm is 80% of spherical water along with nucleic acids, enzymes, lipids and amino acids.  Many more proteins and molecules are present in the composition of the cytoplasm.
  5. The functions of the two main components of the cell are also different but they are interdependent. The cytosol reaches the molecules that are dissolved and suspended in the liquid form to the right position while the cytoplasm freezes these molecules in these positions for an efficient metabolism to take place.



Cytosol and cytoplasm are both parts of a cell. They are contained within the plasma or cell membrane. They both are fluids and are therefore mostly constituted of water. They take care of all the metabolic activities along with various other functions in a cell.

The cytosol is the liquid part of the cytoplasm. This liquid keeps all the cell organelles suspended and also moves the positions of the organelles if required for transport of the metabolites. The cytosol takes care of smaller metabolic activities like protein biosynthesis.

The cytoplasm is the gelatinous translucent fluid present within the cell membrane and the nucleus. They constitute 80% of a cell. The function of cytoplasm is to freeze the organelles in the right position for efficient metabolism to take place.

The functions of cytoplasm and cytosol are interdependent. While the cytosol brings the dissolved or suspended molecules to the right place, the cytoplasm freezes these organelles/molecules once they reach the right place.


  1. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/190/4220/1204.abstract
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0014482788903333
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