The problems involved in the biosynthesis of wall materials and their derivatives have long been under consideration, but it is only in comparatively recent times that any marked advance has been made in their solution. It is necessary here therefore to review in the main only the more recent literature. The number and types of substances involved are many and complex; as shown elsewhere in this volume1 they may somewhat arbitrarily be divided into four groups: (a) cellulose, (b) hemicelluloses, (c) pectic substances, (d) lignin, though (b) and (c) may be grouped together as polyuronides. Other substances occur in specialised tissue-cutin, suberin, waxy deposits etc.-but these will not be considered at this time2. It will be clear that the synthesis of such an organised body as the cell wall involves more than the chemical synthesis of each molecular species, for account has to be taken also of both the precise physical form in each and of their mutual arrangement. This renders problems of synthesis highly complex and it is for this reason, coupled with the necessity to await the structural determination of the synthesised substances on the one hand and the development of the requisite knowledge of enzyme behaviour and kinetics on the other, that as yet so little has been acheived.


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© Springer-Verlag oHG. Berlin · Göttingen · Heidelberg 1958

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  • R. D. Preston

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