Letter | Published:

Dispersion of Cellulose Strands in Cell Walls

Nature volume 149, pages 580581 (23 May 1942) | Download Citation



IN a recent letter in NATURE1 Prof. Frey-Wyssling directs attention to the importance in cell wall studies of the angular dispersion of the constituent cellulose micelles and refers to my papers as ignoring this property. Cell wall physics is a study in which there is already much controversy, and it seems therefore a pity to give the impression of a difference of opinion where none actually exists. The question centres round the desirability of taking into account not only the parallel texture said to be typical of fibres but also the so-called 'dispersed' or 'reticul' texture present in some other cell types. So far as I am concerned, the difference between 'parallel' and 'dispersed' textures is one of degree only and actually, far from taking “... only parallel textures into account...”, I have yet to investigate a single cell in which I am convinced that this texture does occur in anything like a strict sense. In some fibres2 and wood cells3, for example, where Frey-Wyssling himself supports parallel texture, and in some collen-chyma4, my collaborators and I have shown that the angular dispersion of the cellulose micelles about the extinction direction may be considerable and is probably of importance in explaining certain optical properties of the wall. These latter papers have apparently not been available to Prof. Frey-Wyssling since his citations of my papers cease in 1939.

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  1. Department of Botany, University of Leeds. April 22.

    • R. D. PRESTON


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