Biology Prefixes and Suffixes: -plasm, plasmo-

Squamous Cells
Squamous Cells With Visible Nucleus and Cytoplasm. National Cancer Institute

Biology Prefixes and Suffixes: (Plasm)


The affix (plasm) refers to the material forming cells and can also mean a living substance. The term plasm can be used as a suffix or prefix. Related terms include plasmo- , -plasmic, -plast, and -plasty.

Suffix (-plasm)


Alloplasm (allo - plasm) - differentiated cytoplasm that forms specialized structures like cilia and flagella as well as other similar structures.

Axoplasm (axo - plasm) - the cytoplasm of a nerve cell axon.

Cytoplasm (cyto - plasm) - the contents of a cell that surrounds the nucleus. This includes the cytosol and organelles other than the nucleus.

Deutoplasm (deuto - plasm) - the substance in a cell that serves as a nutrition source, commonly refers to yolk in an egg.

Ectoplasm (ecto - plasm) - the outer portion of the cytoplasm in some cells. This layer has a clear, gel-like appearance as seen in amoebas.

Endoplasm (endo - plasm) - the inner portion of the cytoplasm in some cells. This layer is more fluid than the ectoplasm layer as seen in amoebas.

Germplasm (germ - plasm) - the sum total of the genetic material of a particular related group of organisms or species. Such material is usually collected for breeding or conservation purposes.

Hyaloplasm (hyalo - plasm) - synonymous with the cell's cytosol, the fluid part of the cytoplasm that doesn't include the organelles of the cell.

Myoplasm (myo - plasm) - the portion of muscle cells that contracts.

Neoplasm (neo - plasm) - abnormal, uncontrolled growth of new tissue as in a cancer cell.

Nucleoplasm (nucleo - plasm) - gel-like substance in the nucleus of plant and animal cells that is enclosed by the nuclear envelope and surrounds the nucleolus and chromatin.

Periplasm (peri - plasm) - in some archaea and bacteria, the area between the outer portion of the cell membrane and the inner cytoplasmic membrane.

Piroplasm (piro - plasm) - the piroplasms are parasitic protozoans that can infect a variety of animals like cows and sheep.

Protoplasm (proto - plasm) - the cytoplasm and nucleoplasm contents of a cell. It excludes the deutoplasm.

Sarcoplasm (sarco - plasm) - the cytoplasm in skeletal muscle fibers.

Prefixes (plasm-) and (plasmo-)


Plasma Membrane (plasma) - membrane that surrounds the cytoplasm and nucleus of cells.

Plasmodesmata (plasmo - desmata) - channels between plant cell walls that allow molecular signals to pass between individual plant cells.

Plasmodium (plasmo - dium) - parasitic organisms that can infect humans. For example, Plasmodium malariae causes malaria in people.

Plasmolysis (plasmo - lysis) - shrinkage that occurs in the cell cytoplasm due to osmosis.

Suffix (-plasty)

Amphiplasty (amphi -plasty) - repairing and reconstructing chromosomes in the cell's nucleolus.

Angioplasty (angio - plasty) - medical procedure done to open narrowed arteries and veins, particularly in the heart.

Aortoplasty (aorto - plasty) - medical procedure that repairs a damaged aorta.

Autoplasty (auto - plasty) - surgical removal of tissue from one site that is used to repair damaged tissue in another site. An example of this is a skin graft.

Bronchoplasty (broncho - plasty) - surgical repair of the bronchi, the two airways that branch off of the trachea and lead to the lungs.

Cranioplasty (cranio - plasty) - surgical repair of the cranium to correct an imperfection, particularly in the case of a cranial deformity.

Facioplasty (facio - plasty) - corrective surgical repair of the face, most often in the case of plastic or reconstructive surgery.

Heteroplasty (hetero - plasty) - surgical transplantation of tissue from one individual or species into another.

Rhinoplasty (rhino - plasty) - surgical procedure performed on the nose.

Thermoplasty (thermo - plasty) - the use of heat to treat the effects and symptoms of asthma by softening the airway walls.

Tympanoplasty (tympano - plasty) - surgical repair of the eardrum or bones of the middle ear.

Zooplasty (zoo - plasty) - a surgical procedure that transplants living animal tissue to a human.

Key Takeaways

  • The common affix, plasm, refers to the substance that forms living cells.
  • Plasm can be used as both a prefix or suffix in biological terms and words.
  • Other related suffixes include -plast and -plasty along with the prefix plasmo-.
  • Understanding biological prefixes and suffixes like plasm can help us to better understand complex biological concepts.
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Your Citation
Bailey, Regina. "Biology Prefixes and Suffixes: -plasm, plasmo-." ThoughtCo, Jul. 29, 2021, Bailey, Regina. (2021, July 29). Biology Prefixes and Suffixes: -plasm, plasmo-. Retrieved from Bailey, Regina. "Biology Prefixes and Suffixes: -plasm, plasmo-." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 8, 2023).