The Golgi apparatus is a membrane-bound structure with a single membrane. It is actually a stack of membrane-bound vesicles that are important in packaging macromolecules for transport elsewhere in the cell. The stack of larger vesicles is surrounded by numerous smaller vesicles containing those packaged macromolecules. The Golgi apparatus is found universally in both plant and animal cells and is typically comprised of a series of five to eight cup-shaped, membrane-covered sacs called cisternae that look something like a stack of deflated balloons.
It was discovered by an Italian physician named Camillo Golgi.
The enzymatic or hormonal contents of lysosomes, peroxisomes and secretory vesicles are packaged in membrane-bound vesicles at the periphery of the Golgi apparatus.
The Golgi apparatus is often considered the distribution and shipping department for the cell's chemical products. It modifies proteins and lipids (fats) that have been built in the endoplasmic reticulum and prepares them for export outside of the cell or for transport to other locations in the cell.
Proteins, carbohydrates, phospholipids, and other molecules formed in the endoplasmic reticulum are transported to the Golgi apparatus to be biochemically modified during their transition from the cis to the trans poles of the complex.
Enzymes present in the Golgi lumen modify the carbohydrate (or sugar) portion of glycoproteins by adding or subtracting individual sugar monomers.
In addition, the Golgi apparatus manufactures a variety of macromolecules on its own, including a variety of polysaccharides.
The Golgi complex in plant cells produces pectins and other polysaccharides specifically needed by for plant structure and metabolism.