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Plants 2015, 4(2), 167-182; doi:10.3390/plants4020167

Measuring the Mechanical Properties of Plant Cell Walls

1
Institute of Plant Biology and Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center, University of Zurich, Zollikerstrasse 107, CH 8008 Zürich, Switzerland
2
Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems, ETH Zurich, Tannenstrasse 3, CH 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Philip J. Harris
Received: 23 January 2015 / Revised: 5 March 2015 / Accepted: 11 March 2015 / Published: 25 March 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Cell Walls: Chemical and Metabolic Analysis)
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Abstract

The size, shape and stability of a plant depend on the flexibility and integrity of its cell walls, which, at the same time, need to allow cell expansion for growth, while maintaining mechanical stability. Biomechanical studies largely vanished from the focus of plant science with the rapid progress of genetics and molecular biology since the mid-twentieth century. However, the development of more sensitive measurement tools renewed the interest in plant biomechanics in recent years, not only to understand the fundamental concepts of growth and morphogenesis, but also with regard to economically important areas in agriculture, forestry and the paper industry. Recent advances have clearly demonstrated that mechanical forces play a crucial role in cell and organ morphogenesis, which ultimately define plant morphology. In this article, we will briefly review the available methods to determine the mechanical properties of cell walls, such as atomic force microscopy (AFM) and microindentation assays, and discuss their advantages and disadvantages. But we will focus on a novel methodological approach, called cellular force microscopy (CFM), and its automated successor, real-time CFM (RT-CFM). View Full-Text
Keywords: cell wall; cytomechanics; turgor pressure; Young’s modulus; pollen tube; cellular force microscope cell wall; cytomechanics; turgor pressure; Young’s modulus; pollen tube; cellular force microscope
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Vogler, H.; Felekis, D.; Nelson, B.J.; Grossniklaus, U. Measuring the Mechanical Properties of Plant Cell Walls. Plants 2015, 4, 167-182.

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