What Is The Cell Wall Made Of & How Do You Break It Down?

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David Shechter
Oct 24, 2016
min read
What Is The Cell Wall Made Of & How Do You Break It Down?

The primary difference between plant and animal cells is that plant cells have a cell wall and a cell membrane, while animal cells only have a cell membrane.  

The cell wall is located outside of the cell membrane in plants, bacteria, fungi and algae. It is a tough, rigid layer that provides structural support and protection for the cell. Many plant cells have both a primary cell wall, which accommodates the cell as it grows, and a secondary cell wall that they develop inside the primary wall after the cell has stopped growing. Secondary cell walls are much thicker and stronger than the primary cell walls, and are the major component in wood.

The plant cell wall is composed of cellulose, a complex carbohydrate made up of several thousand glucose molecules linked end to end. In addition, the cell wall contains two groups of branched polysaccharides, the pectins and cross-linking glycans.

Breaking Down Cell Walls

Not all cell lysis methods are suitable for plant cell lysis. Ultrasonic homogenizers or sonicators, for example, are unsuitable as cell walls are far more resistant to sonication than cell membranes. Organic solvents like alcohols, ether or chloroform can disrupt cells by permeating the cell walls and membranes. These solvents are often used, in combination with shearing forces, to lyse plant cells.

High Pressure Homogenizers for Plant Cell Lysis

DeBEE High Pressure Homogenizers use forces like shear, cavitation and impact to disrupt plant cells. These forces are adjustable, allowing the user to optimize cell rupture according to the specific cell type. The operator is able to lyse even the most challenging cells, like yeast or fungi. Other cells like E. coli, bacteria, mammalian tissue, and insect cells can each be ruptured with the most efficient process for the highest recovery rates.

Our homogenizers yield a high cell rupture for a wide variety of cells, without damaging cell tissue or other valuable intracellular materials. As always with DeBee High Pressure Homogenizers, all laboratory developments are 100% scalable to manufacturing. 

Interested in cell lysis? Contact us.

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