What is a Cell Wall?

A plant cell wall is a structure surrounding the cell that provides a number of functions:  

  • Strength to support the plant
  • Rigidity to fix cell shape
  • Flexibility
  • Porosity
  • Water-proofing
  • Barrier to pests
  • Protection against environmental stress 
  • Apoplastic transport
  • Signalling and sensing             

Plant cell walls are a complex mixture of cellulose and non-cellulosic polysaccharides (sugars), proteins, lignin and water.

 

 Primary cell walls are found in young growing tissue

       

Secondary (thickened) cell walls are found in tissue that has stopped growing

  Secondary cell wall