The cell is the fundamental unit of our life. Every single living organism existing on this planet is composed of the cell. The number, size and shape of a cell varies with their function. The cell comprises specialized organelles, which are involved in various cellular processes.

Mitochondria are also one among the cell organelles, which are found in all eukaryotic organisms.

In this article, let’s learn some important information and facts related to mitochondria.

What is Mitochondria?

Mitochondria are bean-shaped, double-membrane-bound, colourless organelle found in all eukaryotic organisms. This cell organelle is located within the cell’s cytoplasm and the size ranges from 0.5 to 10 μm. Their shape and number vary with the type of cells. In the cell, mitochondria are found freely floating by generating energy-rich molecules.

Mitochondria are called “the powerhouse of the cell”. This is because mitochondria are involved in breaking down the nutrients to generate energy-rich molecules for the cell. Along with energy production, they play a significant role in the various biochemical processes associated with cellular respiration and other cellular functions.

There are more interesting facts about mitochondria, which have been described below pointwise.

Facts About Mitochondria


The term ‘mitochondrion’ was derived from a Greek word, refers to threadlike granules. A German pathologist, named Richard Altmann was the first person to describe the mitochondria in 1890.


There are about ten to fifteen lakhs of mitochondria present in each cell. According to the surveys and researches, this cell organelle is typically inherited exclusively from the mother.


Mitochondria have their DNA and ribosome involved in synthesizing respiratory enzymes and releasing energy in ATP-Adenosine triphosphate.        


Mitochondria are also able to synthesize proteins, required for ATP molecules’ production, an energy currency of the cell.


The total number of mitochondria per cell varies. Among all the living cells, RBCs or erythrocytes are the only cells in the human body that lack mitochondria. Other cells, including, muscle cells, liver cells and other cells comprise more number of mitochondria.


The metabolic pathway of generating ATP molecules by phosphorylation of ADP is called oxidative phosphorylation. In this process, ATP is formed as a result of the transfer of electrons. The complete process of oxidative phosphorylation takes place within the mitochondria of the cell.


There are specialized functions in the living cells, which are performed and controlled by mitochondria. These functions include apoptosis, maintaining the cell growth, cell cycle and detoxifying or removing toxic substances (ammonia) in the liver cells.


As mentioned above, the total number of mitochondria varies with the types of cell. Some simple cells contain only one or two mitochondria. In humans, the liver cell comprises 25% of mitochondria and heart muscle cell comprises 40% of mitochondria.


In addition to producing energy, mitochondria are also involved in storing calcium, generating heat, mediating cell growth and cell death and other cell signalling activities.


Mitochondrial disease is a prolonged, genetic disorder that occurs when mitochondria fail to produce enough energy for that cell or organ to function.

Along with the specific functions, a few mitochondrial disorders are caused when mitochondria produce less energy or fail to make the energy required for the different cellular activities.

These were some interesting facts about mitochondria.

These were brief information about some crucial facts about mitochondria-The Powerhouse Of The Cell.

Stay tuned with BYJU’S to learn more about the mitochondria, their structure, functions and other cell organelles along with exciting videos by subscribing to BYJU’S YouTube videos.