When living cells of Nitella are exposed to a solution of sodium acetate and are then placed in a solution of brilliant cresyl blue made up with a borate buffer mixture at pH 7.85, a decrease in the rate of penetration of dye is found, without any change in the pH value of the sap. It is assumed that this inhibiting effect is caused by the action of sodium on the protoplasm.
This effect is not manifest if the dye solution is made up with phosphate buffer mixture at pH 7.85. It is assumed that this is due to the presence of a greater concentration of base cations in the phosphate buffer mixture.
In the case of cells previously exposed to solutions of acetic acid the rate of penetration of dye decreases with the lowering of the pH value of the sap. This inhibiting effect is assumed to be due chiefly to the action of acetic acid on the protoplasm, provided the pH value of the external acetic acid is not so low as to involve an inhibiting effect on the protoplasm by hydrogen ions as well. It is assumed that the acetic acid either has a specific effect on the protoplasm or enters as undissociated molecules and by subsequent dissociation lowers the pH value of the protoplasm.
With acetate buffer mixture the inhibiting effect is due to the action of sodium and acetic acid on the protoplasm.
The inhibiting effect of acetic acid and acetate buffer mixture is manifested whether the dye solution is made up with borate or phosphate buffer mixture at pH 7.85. It is assumed that acetic acid in the vacuole serves as a reservoir so that during the experiment the inhibiting effect still persists.