The Chemical Structure of the Cell Walls of Higher Plants

  • Nicholas C. Carpita


Without question, the fundamental chemistry of dietary fiber resides in the chemical structure of plant cell walls. These complicated networks of polysaccharide, structural protein, and phenolic substances are the basis of cell shape and integrity in plants and the slowly digested components that make up now-recognized important dietary supplements. Although the original definition of dietary fiber has been modified to include “soluble” as well as “insoluble” fibers, the recent advances in analysis of polysaccharide structure and survey of a wider range of higher plants have demonstrated that their chemistry is more complex than once imagined. Flowering plants alone comprise a broad range of orders that are grouped into two major evolutionary classes, the Dicotyledonae and Monocotyledonae (Fig. 1). In the Monocotyledonae, the order Graminales contains the cereal grasses that constitute the major foodstuffs of the world. In grasses, the primary cell walls are vastly different from all of the Dicotyledonae and other Monocotyledonae studied.


Cell Wall Cotton Fiber Plant Cell Wall Cellulose Microfibril Primary Cell Wall 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.





highly substituted glucuronarabinoxylan




polygalacturonic acid




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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas C. Carpita
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Botany and Plant PathologyPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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