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Author Topic: Why are plant cells often square?  (Read 4917 times)

Offline Jessica H

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Why are plant cells often square?
« on: 17/01/2014 17:52:03 »
It seems like even with the cell wall they could be circular, triangular, etc.  Why do they usually look square under the microscope?


 

Offline cheryl j

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Re: Why are plant cells often square?
« Reply #1 on: 18/01/2014 06:43:38 »
When I googled this I could not find a good answer other than the cell wall is made of rigid materials with a parallel microstructure, and perhaps a cinder block arrangement is the most economical. Animal cells have molecular organizations more like bubbles, although when you see a cell under the microscope it has been squished under a slide.  Red blood cells are genuinely circular and frisbee shaped, as that allows them to slip through narrow capillaries without creating a log jam, but some round looking cells in the body are actually quite irregular.

 
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Why are plant cells often square?
« Reply #2 on: 18/01/2014 07:40:00 »
Looking up on the web: Plant Cells Microscope, there are many block shaped cells, but they are generally not perfect cubes.  Some are even apparently hexagon shaped.

It is easiest to build a brick wall out of rectangular bricks.  Any structure that minimizes interstitial space will allow more "life", it would be stronger, and perhaps would minimize disease.  For regular structures, hexagons (2-D?), squares, rectangles, cubes, and etc are good at filling in space, and of course also irregular shapes. 

As  Cheryl mentioned, cell walls may also help force neighboring cells into a rigid structure rather than a more amorphous structure. 

A certain amount of rigidity is often helpful for plants whereas flexibility is useful for animal tissues, thus one might have more of a defined structure for the plant cells and amorphous structure for the animal cells.
 

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Re: Why are plant cells often square?
« Reply #2 on: 18/01/2014 07:40:00 »

 

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