Edexcel International A Level Biology

Revision Notes

4.4 Properties of Cellulose

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Plant Fibres

  • Sclerenchyma fibres and xylem vessels are made of long, hollow plant cells
  • These cells are hollow due to the fact that their cell contents died (often due to the lignification of the cell wall, which makes it almost impossible for substances to enter or leave the cell)
  • These fibres have great strength, which is a property that is often exploited by humans
    • They are useful in making rope and certain fabrics are made from plant fibres (e.g. cotton and hemp)
  • Their strength is due to certain factors affecting the cell wall:
    • The arrangement of cellulose microfibrils in a mesh-like pattern
    • Secondary thickening, which results in a thick secondary cell wall developing which often contains lignin

Cellulose_ Structure linking to function of celluloseThe arrangement of cellulose microfibrils, along with secondary thickening, are the main reasons why plant fibres are very strong

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Author: Marlene

Marlene graduated from Stellenbosch University, South Africa, in 2002 with a degree in Biodiversity and Ecology. After completing a PGCE (Postgraduate certificate in education) in 2003 she taught high school Biology for over 10 years at various schools across South Africa before returning to Stellenbosch University in 2014 to obtain an Honours degree in Biological Sciences. With over 16 years of teaching experience, of which the past 3 years were spent teaching IGCSE and A level Biology, Marlene is passionate about Biology and making it more approachable to her students.