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01-10-2007 | Issue 5/2007

Cellulose 5/2007

Hydration effects on spacing of primary-wall cellulose microfibrils: a small angle X-ray scattering study

Journal:
Cellulose > Issue 5/2007
Authors:
Craig J. Kennedy, Adriana Šturcová, Michael C. Jarvis, Timothy J. Wess

Abstract

Celery collenchyma cell walls are typical of primary plant cell walls in their composition but contain unusually well-oriented cellulose microfibrils that are packed with more regularity than normal, permitting small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) experiments that would not otherwise be possible. Small-angle scattering data were obtained for the cell walls in essentially their native state and for isolated cellulose, in a fibrous form that retained the physical shape and microfibril orientation of the native cell walls. The scattering patterns showed a distinct peak attributed to the interference contribution to the convolution of form and interference functions. The position of the peak attributed to the interference function implied a mean centre-to-centre microfibril spacing of approximately 3.2 nm in dry isolated cellulose and 3.8 nm in dry cell walls. Hydration increased the mean microfibril spacing in the cell walls to 5.4 nm but had only a small effect on the mean microfibril spacing of isolated cellulose. In the scattering profile from intact, hydrated cell walls it was just possible to discern the position of the first Bessel minimum, from which a microfibril diameter in the range 3.1–3.6 nm may be estimated. This estimate is likely to include attached hemicellulose chains. Porod plots of scattering intensity indicated a relatively sharp interface between microfibrils and their immediate surroundings. The SAXS data imply that cellulose microfibrils 2.6–3.0 nm in diameter are not quite in lateral contact with one another in the isolated cellulose and are augmented by hemicelluloses and separated by readily hydrated matrix polysaccharides in the native plant cell wall.

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