Related topics: biofuel · ethanol

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.

Supercomputing improves biomass fuel conversion

Fuels made from agricultural or forestry wastes known as lignocellulosic biomass have long been a champion in the quest to reduce use of fossil fuels. But plant cell walls have some innate defenses that make the process to ...

Bioengineered cell walls open new medical, research possibilities

Biomedical engineers at Penn State have developed a process to build protective, synthetic plant cell walls around animal cells. The work, published in Nature Communications, could hold significant potential for a variety ...

Scientists identify a novel target for corn straw utilization

Plant cell walls, as repositories of fixed carbon, are an important source of biomass, which is mainly composed of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. However, the complex lignin structure makes it a rather inefficient ...

Engineered microbe may be key to producing plastic from plants

With a few genetic tweaks, a type of soil bacteria with an appetite for hydrocarbons shows promise as a biological factory for converting a renewable—but frustratingly untapped—bounty into a replacement for ubiquitous ...

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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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