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Mucilage     [ Botany - Biochemistry ]
Adjective: Mucilaginous
Adverb: Mucilaginously
Noun: Mucilaginousness

Dictionary of botanic terminology
index of names

     
  The mucilage is a sticky, viscous or gelatinous plant cell product, this substance is secreted by some plants through the action of water on the cell wall, and the term is usually applied to plant gums.  
 
[From Latin  mucillago “moldy juice,” from Latin mucus).
 
 
The mucilage obtained from cactus (especially from Opuntia sp.) is commonly described as a water-soluble pectin-like polysaccharide. The ability of Cactaceae to retain water under prolonged drought in unfavourable climatic conditions in arid and hot drylands is due in part, at least, to the water-binding capacity of mucilage.

The mucilage biosynthesis takes place in specialized cells (the mucilage cell) that excrete it into the apoplast, where it helps regulate the cellular water content during the initial phase of dehydration. Some species of cacti (eg. Ariocarpus) has extensive system of mucilage canals and reservoir.
 
Mucilage is another term for so called exopolysaccharides (sugar substances produced by unicellular or filamentous green algae and cyanobacteria)
Exopolysaccharides are the most stabilising factor for microaggregates and are widely distributed in soils. Therefore exoplysaccharide-producing "soil algae" play a vital role in the ecology of the world's soils.
Mucilaginous
Resembling, containing, composed or pertaining to mucilage; moist, sticky and slimy.
Characterized by a gummy or gelatinous consistency.

 

 

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