With a new technique of negative staining of sections, it has been possible to observe directly, in ultrathin sections under the electron microscope, the original microcrystalline and microfibrillar structure of cellulose as it occurs in living cells. This method has advantages over the study of isolated fibers used so far by others, in that the original arrangement of microfibrils is better preserved, and their collapse into larger fibrillar units is prevented. With this method, the cell walls of ramie, jute, and cotton fibers have been studied. The size (diameter, 25 to 40 A) and the longitudinal periodicity observed in the single microfibrils and the orientation and spatial arrangement of the microcrystallite within the microfibrils are found to correspond with the latest models derived by others from data obtained by indirect methods such as X-ray diffraction. The microfibril size of about 35 A, found by measuring these structures in sections, agrees with the latest conclusions reached by others in recent work with isolated fibrils.

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