Significance of hydration to the state of protoplasm

  • J. Levitt
Part of the Handbuch der Pflanzenphysiologie / Encyclopedia of Plant Physiology book series (532, volume 3)


Protoplasm is an aqueous colloidal system having the properties of both a sol and a gel, and containing structures of various sizes—the nucleus, plastids, mitochondria, and microsomes. These structures are themselves aqueous colloids but have not been studied with respect to hydration as intensively as the imbedding medium—the so-called cytoplasm. The viscosity of protoplasm is greater than that of water but is low enough to permit Brownian movement and streaming movement. Due to its colloidal-gel properties, the protoplasm is elastic. Since water is the disperse phase, making up 85–90% of the total protoplasm, the quantity present markedly affects these colloidal properties.


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© Springer-Verlag OHG. Berlin · Göttingen · Heidelberg 1956

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  • J. Levitt

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