Structural Characteristics of Cell Walls of Forage Grasses - Their Nutritional Evaluation for Ruminants - - Review -

  • Published : 2001.06.01


The walls of all higher plants are organized as a cellulosic, fibrillar phase embedded in a matrix phase composed of non-cellulosic polysaccharides, some proteins and, in most secondary walls, lignin. At the effective utilization of plant biomass, qualitative and quantitative analyses of plant cell walls are essential. Structural features of individual components are being clarified using newly developed equipments and techniques. However, "empirical" procedures to elucidate plant cell walls, which are not due to scientific definition of components, are still applied in some fields. These procedures may give misunderstanding for the effective utilization of plant biomass. In addition, interesting the investigation of wall organization is moving towards not only qualitatively characterisation, but also quantitation of the associations between wall components. These involve polysaccharide-polysaccharide and polysaccharide-lignin cross-links. Investigation of the associations is being done in order to understand the chemical structure, organization and biosynthesis of the cell wall and physiology of the plants. Procedures for qualitative and quantitative analyses based on the definition of cell wall components are reviewed focussing in nutritional elucidation of forage grasses by ruminant microorganisms.

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