Cell wall is the outermost boundary in plant cell whereas plasma membrane or cell membrane is the outermost boundary in animal cells. In a plant cell, cell membrane is found in the inner side of the cell wall.
  • Cell membrane is present in all cells.
  • Cell wall is absent in animal cells.
  • Cellulosic cell wall in plant cell wall.
  • Peptidoglycan cell wall in bacterium.
  • Chitinous cell wall in fungi.
Cell wall vs Cell Membrane
Cell wall
Plant cell
Cell membrane
Animal cell
It is a rigid, thick structure (4-20 uM) and visible in light microscope. It is delicate, thin structure (5-10 nm wide) visible only in electron microscope.
It is the outermost layer in plant cell and occurs as a protective covering surrounding the plasma membrane. It is the outermost layer in animal cell and occurs as a semi permeable covering surrounding the protoplasm.
Cell wall is made up of cellulose in plant cell wall.
Cell wall is made up of peptidoglycan in bacterium.
Cell wall is made up of chitin in fungi.

Plasma membrane is made up of lipids proteins and small amount of carbohydrates.
It is completely permeable to ordinary macromolecules. It is selectively permeable or semi- permeable allowing only certain molecules to pass through.
It occurs in plant cell, bacterium and fungus. It occurs in all cells.
It is metabolically inactive and non living. It is metabolically active and living.
It determines the cell shape and offers protection. It protects the protoplasm and maintains a constant internal environment to the protoplasm.

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