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Lysosomes

A lysosome is an organelle that can be thought of as a recycling and garbage disposal centre.

Lysosomes contain digestive enzymes that break down viruses, bacteria and spent molecules. Many of the small products of this process are harmless and can be reused.

The enzymes are stored in lysosomes to prevent them from breaking down the useful molecules in the cytoplasm.

The environment in the lysosome is more acidic than the cytoplasm. The pH is around 4.8, compared to 7.2 in the cytoplasm. The acidity is maintained by "pumping" hydrogen ions into the organelle.

The digestive enzymes can only function in an acidic environment. Escaping the lysosome would cause the enzymes to stop working.

Lysosomes are bubble shaped and around $${0.1-1.2\mu \text{ m}}$$ in size (around the same size as a bacterium). Lysosomes are exclusive to animal cells.

Lysosomes are membrane-bound bubbles containing enzymes.
Lysosomes are membrane-bound bubbles containing enzymes.