The effect of age on the structure and compostition of the cell walls of Choanephora cucurbitarum
Campbell, Craig D.
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The effect of age on the structure and composition of isolated and purified cell walls from cultures of Choanephora cucurbitarum was investigated by microchemical analyses, visible and infrared spectrophotometry, x-ray diffractometry and electron microscopy. Qualitative evaluation revealed the presence of lipids, proteins, neutral sugars, strong alkali soluble sugars, chitin, chitosan and uronic acids in the cell walls of both the 1 and 7 day old cultures. As the mycelium aged, there was a slight but statistically significant increase in the protein content, and a pronounced rise in the chitin and neutral sugar constituents of the cell walls. Conversely, the decrease in the chitosan content during this period had the net effect of altering the chitin: chitosan ratio from near unity in the younger cultures, to a 2:1 ratio in the 7 day old cell wall samples. Glutaraldehyde-osmium fixed thin sections of the 1 day old vegetative hyphae of £. curbitarum revealed the presence of a monolayered cell wall, which upon aging became bilayered. Replicas of acid hydrolysed cell walls demonstrated that both the 1 and 7 day old samples possessed an outer layer which was composed of finely granular amorphous material and randomly distributed microfibrils. The deposition of an inner secondary layer composed of parallel oriented microfibrils in the older hypha was correlated with an increase in the chitin content in the cell wall. The significance of these results with respect to the intimate relationship between composition and structure is discussed.