, Volume 160, Issue 6, pp 514–520 | Cite as

The Instron technique as a measure of immediate-past wall extensibility

  • Robert E. Cleland


The relationship between the plastic-extensibility values (PEx) obtained in the Instron technique and the growth parameter, wall extensibility (Φ) has been evaluated for Avena sativa L. coleoptile cell walls. The possibility that PEx is proportional to the growth rate rather than to Φ has been eliminated by showing that turgor-driven changes in the growth rate do not cause comparable changes in PEx. For Avena coleoptiles, PEx appears to be a measure of the average Φ over the previous 60–90 min rather than a measure of the instantaneous Φ of the growth equation. This is indicated by the fact that while PEx and the growth rate start to change simultaneously after addition of indole-3-acetic acid or KCN, the growth rate reaches a new, constant value 60–90 min before a new plateau value of PEx is obtained. Similar results are obrained with soybean (Glycine max L.) hypocotyl walls, indicating that the relationship between PEx and the parameter Φ is a general one, although the period over which Φ is averaged differs from tissue to tissue. In addition, it is shown that PEx can be measured more than once on the same section; a new potential for plastic extension is regenerated whenever the force vectors are changed even slightly. It is concluded that PEx is a measure of those domains in the wall where a wall-loosening event has occurred which has not been eliminated by further wall synthesis or other biochemical events.

Key words

Auxin and wall extensibility Avena (wall extensibility) Glycine (wall extensibility) Instron technique Plastic extensibility Wall extensibility 

Abbreviations and symbols


Instron plastic compliance


indole-3-acetic acid


Instron plastic extensibility


instantaneous wall extensibility


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert E. Cleland
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BotanyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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