RESEARCH ON THE CYTOCHEMISTRY OF CELL WALLS OF MICROORGANISMS.
Rept. for Feb-NNov 63,3663,
FARR CYTOCHEMICAL LABS CAMDEN MAINE
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As a part of the research program designed to solve the nutritional problems of astronauts during extended explorations of space, cell wall substances of four fungi, Heterocephalum aurantiacum, Spicaria sp., Cladosporium sp. and Linderina pennispora have been identified and localized by standard cytochemical methods. Chitin is the resistant cell wall material in the component cells of all of these fungi and results of efforts to identify cellulose in the same cell walls have been negative. Excretions which accumulate on the surfaces of the aerial corticating hyphae of H. aurantiacum are composed primarily of calcium salts and an unidentified colloidal material, yellow-orange in color and having many characteristics in common with the so-called fungal gamboge. Reactions of the previously untreated chitinous cell walls to the enzyme, chitinase, are positive. Enzymatic hydrolysis represents the most suitable method now available for the conversion of chitin to N-acetylglucosamine with the accompanying breakdown of the cell wall and concurrent release of nutritive subbussubstances i ses in the protoplast. X-rray diffraction patteettterns of chitin havevah nin have been obtained from purified cell wall samples. Measurements of these same samples, at successive stages ofoof removal of non-chitinous materials, show a gradual increase in refractive index values. Author