What is a Peroxisome?

Under a microscope, peroxisome are seen to be spherical in shape.
Peroxisomes assist with photosynthesis in plants.
In humans and other animals, peroxisomes are often especially concentrated in the neighborhood of the liver and kidneys, the filtration centers for toxins.
Article Details
  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 29 August 2015
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
J.D. Salinger was carrying six chapters of "The Catcher in the Rye" when he landed on Omaha Beach during WWII.  more...

October 6 ,  2004 :  A report was released declaring no evidence of weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq.  more...

A peroxisome is a specialized structure inside a cell which helps to rid the body of the host organism of toxins. In animals, peroxisomes are often especially concentrated in the neighborhood of the liver and kidneys, the filtration centers for toxins. In plants, peroxisomes assist with photosynthesis. In either instance, a peroxisome disorder can be a serious problem, as these structures are crucial to the wellbeing of much of life on Earth.

Like other specialized structures inside a cell, a peroxisome is considered to be an example of an organelle. Essentially, organelles are like miniature organs inside the cell, just as their name suggests, and they perform many of the same functions that major organs do, only on a much smaller scale. When viewed under a microscope, it is possible to see that peroxisomes are roughly spherical in shape, and they are surrounded by an envelope of lipids and proteins which protects the rest of the cell from the activity inside the peroxisome.

These structures were first firmly identified in 1967, a decade after they had been described by a Swedish doctoral student. The peroxisome is rather a unique organelle, because it is capable of replicating itself, much like DNA. When more peroxisomes are needed in a cell, the existing peroxisomes can grow and then split themselves to meet the need.


When a peroxisome absorbs a toxin, it oxidizes it, converting it to hydrogen peroxide. However, hydrogen peroxide isn't a very healthy thing to have floating around in the body in large amounts, so peroxisomes are also capable of breaking down hydrogen peroxide, turning it into useful water and oxygen which can be utilized by the cell for a variety of tasks or expressed, if the body has an excess.

Peroxisomes are part of the process of cell metabolism, which keeps cells running smoothly to ensure that they have enough energy to perform their functions. With peroxisomes on the fritz, people can develop disorders related to a buildup of lipids and other toxins in their bodies. This can manifest in the form of a variety of conditions, including the neurological disorder known as Zellweger Syndrome.


You might also Like


Discuss this Article

Post 10

I read somewhere that peroxisomes are distributed throughout the cell. Is that true?

Post 6

They are located along with the lysosomes in the cytoplasm. They are usually present near the golgi apparatus.

Post 5

Where is the peroxisome located in the cell?

Post 3

how does proxisome perform inside the cell?

Post 1

what do peroxisomes do in a euglena?

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?