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Book Chapter

Cell Wall Polymers of Higher Plants in Peat Formation: The Role of Microorganisms

By
C. Exarchos
C. Exarchos
College of Earth and Hneral Sciences Pennsylvania State University University Park, Pa. 1680L
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P. H. Given
P. H. Given
College of Earth and Hneral Sciences Pennsylvania State University University Park, Pa. 1680L
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Published:
January 01, 1977

Abstract

Examination of peats and many coals under the microscope shows that considerable amounts of distinguishable woody structures are present, and that cellulose is at least partly retained as a constituent of cell walls. Yet attempts to isolate cellulose chemically from peats afford iittle or none of the polymer. Experiments in which sheets of filter "paper are inserted in peats and left for varying periods of time show that pure cellulose is rapidly destroyed. The variation of destruction.with time and with depth depends upon the site of insertion. In other studies 14C-labelled cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin were inserted in peats in the field for various lengths of time. In 12 days 50% of the 14c activity in the cellulose was eliminated from the system. The rate of destruction of ligrfin was much slower, but still fast enough, one would have thought, to destroy all plant tissues during the period of accumulation of the peat. It is inferred that tissues found in peat must experience some kind of protection against microbial decay from the surface litter stage onward, and that this may well be a coating of a phenolic/humic condensate. Some evidence of the presence in the red mangrove, Rhizophora mangle L, of substances inhibiting cellulose decay has-been found

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Contents

GSA Microform Publications

Interdisciplinary Studies of Peat and Coal Origins

P. H. Given
P. H. Given
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A. D. Cohen
A. D. Cohen
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Geological Society of America
Volume
7
ISBN electronic:
9780813759074
Publication date:
January 01, 1977

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