Do Eukaryotic Cells have Mitochondria? 5 Facts You Should Know

Eukaryotic cells contain membrane bound organelles and are covered with a cell membrane. Let us focus more on mitochondria below.

All eukaryotic cells including the cells of plants and animals contain a fully functioning and double membranous mitochondria. They also contain other membrane bound organelles such as chloroplasts (in plants), endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus and lysosomes.

Mitochondria Image from Wikipedia

Eukaryotic cells require lot of energy for their function, most of this energy is provided by mitochondria. In plant cells, mitochondria helps in the production and storage of food.

Let us discuss the number of mitochondria in eukaryotic cells, if eukaryotic cells survive without mitochondria and some other related facts in this article.

How many mitochondria are in a eukaryotic cell?

The number of mitochondria varies in different cell types. Let us look at the number of mitochondria in eukaryotic cells in detail.

Single celled eukaryotes can have a single mitochondria or a dozen of them per cells. Multicellular eukaryotes can have thousands of mitochondria in a single cell. Few cell types do not contain a mitochondrion, such as red blood cells.

The number of mitochondria varies based on the demand and necessity of energy inside the cells to carry out proper functioning and to maintain cellular homeostasis. The approximate count of mitochondria in each cell ranges from 100,000 to 600,000, this number varies depending on the cell type.  

What eukaryotic cells do not have mitochondria?

Certain eukaryotic cells do not contain mitochondria and have an alternate way to generate energy. Let us discuss more about such cells in details below.

In eukaryotes, red blood cells also called erythrocytes are the cells that do not contain mitochondria. Red blood cells fulfill their energy requirements by the process of glycolysis. This process occurs independent of oxygen and is known as anaerobic respiration process.

Monocercomonoides Image from Wikipedia

A few and only eukaryotic organisms that does not contain mitochondria belongs to the oxymonad Monocercomonoides species. The organisms belonging to this species are single celled or unicellular. Such organisms contain enzymes in their membrane and cytoplasm that breaks down food and produce energy.                

How do Eukaryotes survive without Mitochondria?

Some eukaryotic organisms are capable of surviving without mitochondria. Let us look into the details of it.

Eukaryotes can survive without mitochondria because they have ways to generate energy and to carry out energy dependent functions. They contain enzymes that helps in breaking the chemical energy from food into the required form of energy such as ATP.

Muscle cell Image from Wikipedia

These organisms use anaerobic respiration process to manufacture the energy. Multicellular organisms cannot survive longer without mitochondria but for a unicellular organism it is easy to carry out cellular processes without mitochondria.

Do muscle cells have mitochondria?

Muscle cells also called myocytes require high energy for their functioning. Let us discuss mitochondria in muscle cells in detail below.

Muscle cells are high energy demanding cells and thus contain thousands of mitochondria to meet the energy demands. In these cells, nutrients obtained from the diet are converted into the energy rich ATP molecules.

Heart muscle cells contain highest number of mitochondria, which is approximately five thousand mitochondria per cell. ATP is required for the movement of every muscle cells present in the body.

Role of mitochondria in muscle cells

Mitochondria in the muscle cells plays a significant role in the proper functioning of muscle cells. Let us discuss it in detail.

Listed below are some of the roles of mitochondria in muscle cells:

  • The metabolism of muscle cells are regulated by mitochondria.
  • They help in the supply of energy.
  • Energy-sensitive signaling pathways are regulated by mitochondria.
  • The production of reactive oxygen species in muscle cells and their signaling pathway is highly controlled and regulated by mitochondria.
  • Mitochondria maintains the calcium homeostasis inside the muscle cells.

A high amount of energy is required by the muscle cells to carry out their normal functions. During excessive exercise the requirement of energy by the skeletal muscles increases by 100-fold. This high energy demand is filled by the presence of mitochondria.


To conclude the article, we can say that almost all the eukaryotes and eukaryotic cells contain mitochondria. The number of mitochondria varies in different cell types depending on their energy demand for their activity.

Sneha Sah

Hey! I am Sneha Sah, I have completed post graduation in Biotechnology. Science has always been fascinating to me and writing is my passion. As an academic writer my aim is to make Science easy and simple to learn and read. Reach me at-

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