The entrance of strong electrolytes into Valonia is very slow unless the cells are injured. This, together with the very high electrical resistance of the protoplasm, suggests that they may penetrate largely as undissociated molecules formed at the surface of the protoplasm by the collision of ions.
Under favorable circumstances KCl may be absorbed to the extent of 3 x 10–8 mols per hour per sq. cm. of surface together with about 0.17 as much NaCl. Other substances which seem to penetrate to some extent are Li, Rb, Br, BrO3, I, IO3, and selenite.
Little or no penetration is shown by SCN, ferricyanide, ferrocyanide, formate, salicylate, tungstate, seleniate, NO2, SO3, Sb, glycerophosphate, and many heavy metals and the alkaline earths.
In sea water whose specific gravity had been increased by CsCl cells of Valonia floated for over a year and there was little or no penetration of Cs except as the result of injury.
The penetration of NH4Cl decreases the specific gravity of the sap and causes the cells to float: under these circumstances they live indefinitely. It is probable that NH3 or NH4OH penetrates and is subsequently changed to NH4Cl. It would seem that if the sea contained a little more ammonia this would be a floating organism.