Near-isotropic stresses were generated within collenchyma cell walls of celery (Apium graveolens L.) by exchanging K+ for Ca2+ ions, varying the ionic strength and de-esterifying the pectic carboxyl groups, treatments that changed the free-charge density of the pectic polysaccharides. The collenchyma strands swelled radially with increasing free-charge density but there was very little longitudinal swelling. Depolymerising the pectins by β-elimination also induced much more radial than longitudinal swelling. Supported by earlier work on Nitella, these results indicate that pectins control the interlamellar spacing in cell walls and hold them together across their thickness, particularly against turgor stresses tending to delaminate the walls at the cell corners.
Key wordsAnisotropy (cell wall) Apium (cell wall thickness) Cell wall (thickness, charge density) Collenchyma Stress, mechanical (cell wall) Pectin
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