The arrangement of cellulose microfibrils in walls of elongating parenchyma cells of Avena coleoptiles, onion roots, and celery petioles was studied in polarizing and electron microscopes by examining whole cell walls and sections. Walls of these cells consist firstly of regions containing the primary pit fields and composed of microfibrils oriented predominantly transversely. The transverse microfibrils show a progressive disorientation from the inside to the outside of the wall which is consistent with the multinet model of wall growth. Between the pit-field regions and running the length of the cells are ribs composed of longitudinally oriented microfibrils. Two types of rib have been found at all stages of cell elongation. In some regions, the wall appears to consist entirely of longitudinal microfibrils so that the rib forms an integral part of the wall. At the edges of such ribs the microfibrils can be seen to change direction from longitudinal in the rib to transverse in the pit-field region. Often, however, the rib appears to consist of an extra separate layer of longitudinal microfibrils outside a continuous wall of transverse microfibrils. These ribs are quite distinct from secondary wall, which consists of longitudinal microfibrils deposited within the primary wall after elongation has ceased. It is evident that the arrangement of cellulose microfibrils in a primary wall can be complex and is probably an expression of specific cellular differentiation.

This content is only available as a PDF.