Elongation growth of etiolated hypocotyls of cress (Lepidium sativum L.) was suppressed when they were exposed to basipetal hypergravity at 35 × g and above. Acceleration at 135 × g caused a decrease in the mechanical extensibility and an increase in the minimum stress-relaxation time of the cell wall. Such changes in the mechanical properties of the cell wall were prominent in the lower regions of hypocotyls. The amounts of cell wall polysaccharides per unit length of hypocotyls increased under the hypergravity condition and, in particular, the increase in the amount of cellulose in the lower regions was conspicuous, Hypergravity did not influence the neutral sugar composition of either the pectin or the hemicellulose fraction. The amount of lignin was also increased by hypergravity treatment, although the level was low. The data suggest that hypergravity modifies the metabolism of cell wall components and thus makes the cell wall thick and rigid, thereby inhibiting elongation growth of cress hypocotyls. These changes may contribute to the plants' ability to sustain their structures against hypergravity.
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