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Comparatively Speaking: Prokaryote vs. Eukaryote
By: Anthony J. O'Lenick, Jr., Siltech LLC
Posted: June 2, 2009
The difference between the structure of prokaryotes and eukaryotes is so great that it is considered to be the most important distinction among groups of organisms.
Prokaryotes are a group of organisms lacking a nucleus. Indeed they lack any other membrane bound organelles. The prokaryotes are divided into two domains—bacteria and archea. In contrast, eukaryotes include animals, plants, fungi and protests having a nucleus.
Cosmetic scientists are interested in this difference for preservation and antibiotic development. The principle of selective toxicity states that the best preservative or antibiotic is the one that has a negative effect upon the undesired organism with minimum effect on the desired one. This basic difference in how prokaryotes and eukaryotes function allows for the isolation of natural products or development of new materials that inhibit the growth of prokaryotes, yet have no toxic effects on eukaryotes.