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Plasmodesmata (Vegetable Kingdom)

  • A. D. J. Meeuse
Part of the Protoplasmatologia book series (PROTOPLASMATOL., volume 2 / A / 1a,b,c)

Abstract

In 1879 E. Tangl described minute structures which traverse the cell walls of the endosperm of Strychnos nux-vomica, Phoenix dactilifera and Areca oleracea (Tangl 1879, see Fig. 1). From his observations and some microchemical tests he concluded that these structures are “offene Communicationen” (open communications) or “Protoplasmafortsätze” (extensions or continuations of the protoplasm) connecting the protoplasts of adjacent cells through the cell walls and that they are, accordingly, tenuous strands of protoplasm. After the publication of Tangls article several other botanists claimed to have seen these structures long before him. Goroschankin, in a paper dated 1883, referred to a lecture delivered by him in 1879 during which he had shown a drawing of these protoplasmic connections. Dippel (1898) communicated that he had seen these structures as early as 1857 and had already depicted them in 1869 (see p. 181 and Fig. 111 of his text book). Zimmermann (1893) drew the attention to unpublished sketches, obviously showing these protoplasmic connections in endosperm. made by Hofmeister long before 1879. However, they did not realise the importance of their observations, whereas Tangl recognised the protoplasmic nature of the structures under discussion. Strasburger (1901) and Meyer (1920), in this question of priority, decided in favour of Tangl, and indeed, he deserves recognition as the true discoverer of these structures, although there can be very little doubt that the claims made by Dippel, who was an expert microscopist, and by Goroschankin to have seen them before Tangl, were well founded.

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© Springer-Verlag in Vienna 1957

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. D. J. Meeuse
    • 1
  1. 1.PretoriaSüdafrika

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