Introduction: Lysis and the Lytic Compartment
The metabolism of natural ecosystems is characterized by a balance between the primary production in the photoautotrophs and the utilization and eventual mineralization of primary products along the complex food chains. Obviously, the lytic phenomena such as degradation of macromolecular compounds produced in plants by herbivorous animals and in saprophytic microorganisms play a prominent role. It is often less appreciated that the plants themselves produce lytic enzymes that are capable of degrading their own cellular constituents. Hence, lysis must have a significant function in the plant’s own metabolism.