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Biomacromolecules. 2002 Jan-Feb;3(1):182-6.

X-ray microbeam and electron diffraction experiments on developing xylem cell walls.

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European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, B.P. 220, F-38043 Grenoble Cedex, France.


This paper describes the first successful application of the novel technique of X-ray microbeam diffraction to the study of wood cell walls in developing xylem tissue. The method enabled us to obtain quantitative diffraction diagrams from single cell walls. It was further combined with selected area electron diffraction. We find that the crystal size of cellulose is increasing from the primary wall (P, <19 A) over the outer layer (S(1), 19 A) to the middle layer of the secondary wall (S(2), 24 A). In particular, the cellulose crystals formed in the primary wall consist of an extremely low-crystalline state of cellulose I. We suggest the more applicable concept of microfibrils with increasing lateral disorder, similar to cellulose IV(I).

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