|This article does not cite any references or sources. (February 2008)|
Ergastic substances are non-protoplasm materials found in cells. The living protoplasm of a cell is sometimes called the bioplasm and distinct from the ergastic substances of the cell. The latter are usually organic or inorganic substances that are products of metabolism, and include crystals, oil drops, gums, tannins, resins and other compounds that can aid the organism in defense, maintenance of cellular structure, or just substance storage. Ergastic substances may appear in the protoplasm, in vacuoles, or in the cell wall.
Although proteins are the main component of living protoplasm, proteins can occur as inactive, ergastic bodies—in an amorphous or crystalline (or crystalloid) form. A well-known amorphous ergastic protein is gluten.