Variability in the X-ray Diagram of the Cell Walls of the Marine Alga Spongomorpha


IN a recent communication1 we have shown by the methods of X-ray analysis that the two closely related green algæ Cladophora and Spongomorpha differ fundamentally in the submicroscopic organization of their cell walls. Whereas the cells in Cladophora filaments have walls in which the skeletal substance is a highly crystalline, well-oriented native cellulose (cellulose I), those of Spongomorpha contain a poorly crystalline, scarcely oriented modification of cellulose which might be mercerized cellulose (cellulose II) or a derivative. It was pointed out some time ago2 that the air-drying of the material, necessary for X-ray investigation, does not produce any undesirable artefacts in algæ, and it was therefore concluded that the structures derived in this way could legitimately be applied to the fresh material. Even preservation in formalin or alcohol does not cause any observable change in the X-ray diagram.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Nicolai, E., and Preston, R. D., Proc. Roy. Soc., B, 140, 244 (1952).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Preston, R. D., Wardrop, A. B., and Nicolai, E., Nature, 162, 957 (1948).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    See, for example, Haas, P., Biochem. J., 29, 298 (1935). Challenger, F., and Simpson, M. I., J. Chem. Soc., 1591 (1948). Bywood, R., et al., Biochem. J., 48, 30 (1951). Percival, E. G. V., Quart. Rev. Chem. Soc., 3, 369 (1949).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

NICOLAI, E., PRESTON, R. Variability in the X-ray Diagram of the Cell Walls of the Marine Alga Spongomorpha. Nature 171, 752–753 (1953).

Download citation

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.