what is economic use of sclerenchyma

Two groups of sclerenchyma cells exist: fibres and sclereids. Their walls consist of cellulose and/or lignin. Sclerenchyma cells are the principal supporting cells in plant parts that have ceased elongation. Sclerenchyma fibres are of great economical importance, since they constitute the source material for many fabrics (flax, hemp, jute, ramie).

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  1. They make the plants hard and stiff
  2. They provide mechanical support to parts of plant
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Economic importance of fibers

• Different definitions of "fiber"

• Commercial definition

• Commercially, fiber can mean any long thread-like structure, natural or synthetic, that can be used for a "fibrous" product.

• If the "fibers" come from a plant, they may be:

• True fibers, defined as sclerenchyma cells
• Other cells
• Seed coat hairs (actually epidermal tissue)
• Wood "fiber" (contain fiber cells but also other xylem cells such as tracheids)

• Fibers used this way can also be materials like nylon and other man-made materials.

• Botanical definition

• A true fiber is a type of sclerenchyma cell as we have defined above.

• Nutritional definition

• What about getting "fiber" in your diet?

• This use of the term does not refer to a cell type but to the fibrous nature of cell walls

• Here, "fiber" refers to the fibrous nature of cellulose molecules (what we have called microfibrils) and other cell wall polymers (pectin, lignin).

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  1. Functions
  2. • Support
  3. • Sclerenchyma provides rigid (elastic) support
  4. • Most important in mature, non-growing regions.
  5. • Cells do not fully mature until after growth of the region is complete.
  6. • Protection
  7. • Sclerenchyma is common in seed coats and fruit walls
  8. • May be part of the epidermis or subepidermal layers.
  9. • Sclerenchyma cells can be found in other tissues
  10. • Note that sclerenchyma cells can be found in sclerenchyma tissue (where all cells are sclerenchyma) but also in other complex tissues (especially xylem and phloem)
  11. Cell characteristics
  12. • Secondary wall present
  13. • Wall thickened, often extremely thick
  14. • Pits may be present, but usually not numerous
  15. • Wall thickening uniform (unlike collenchyma)
  16. • Usually liginified
  17. • Protoplast usually dead at maturity
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