Related topics: biofuel · ethanol

Herringbone pattern in plant cell walls critical to cell growth

Plant cells tend to grow longer instead of wider due to the alignment of the many layers of cellulose that make up their cell walls, according to a new study that may have implications for biofuels research. The study, which ...

Getting to the root of plant survival

When facing a volatile climate, nature searches for a way to survive. For plants, that often means spreading new roots deeper and wider in search of water, particularly in times of drought. While scientists have recognized ...

Study uncovers a plant barrier against toxic aluminum

Aluminum toxicity has long been known to damage plant cells and inhibit the growth of plants. Aluminum is widely found in soils that are too acidic, and as human activities have increased soil acidity across the globe, aluminum ...

Insect or virus? How plants know

Most plants have plenty of enemies, from insects and other grazing creatures to various diseases, droughts and many other stressors.

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Cell wall

A cell wall is a tough, flexible and sometimes fairly rigid layer that surrounds some types of cells. It is located outside the cell membrane and provides these cells with structural support and protection, and also acts as a filtering mechanism. A major function of the cell wall is to act as a pressure vessel, preventing over-expansion when water enters the cell. They are found in plants, bacteria, fungi, algae, and some archaea. Animals and protozoa do not have cell walls.

The materials in a cell wall vary between species, and in plants and fungi also differ between cell types and developmental stages. In plants, the strongest component of the complex cell wall is a carbohydrate called cellulose, which is a polymer of glucose. In bacteria, peptidoglycan forms the cell wall. Archaean cell walls have various compositions, and may be formed of glycoprotein S-layers, pseudopeptidoglycan, or polysaccharides. Fungi possess cell walls made of the glucosamine polymer chitin, and algae typically possess walls made of glycoproteins and polysaccharides. Unusually, diatoms have a cell wall composed of silicic acid. Often, other accessory molecules are found anchored to the cell wall.

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