The experiments with the NH4Cl are similar to, and corroborate micro injection experiments performed in connection with some work on mustard gas in which the writer collaborated. Eggs immersed in sea water containing decomposed mustard gas, at a certain low concentration are not affected. If, however, the solution be injected, the egg quickly cytolyzes owing to the free HCl present.
A similar impermeability of the protoplasmic surface film to certain substances was also encountered in injection work on Amœba. Amœbœ immersed in an aqueous solution of eosin will not take the stain till after death. On the other hand, the eosin, when injected into the Amœba, quickly permeates the protoplasm, to be arrested only at the surface.
The semipermeability of a living cell appears primarily to be a function of its surface film. It is immaterial whether this film be that of the original cortex of the cell, a film newly formed over a cut surface, or a film that surrounds an artificially induced vacuole within the cell. As long as such a surface film exists neither the acid group of the NH4Cl nor the alkaline group of the NaHCO3 can, within certain concentration limits, penetrate the protoplasm. These solutions, if injected beneath the surface film, however, will produce their characteristic effects upon the protoplasm.