The work show that alginates, which are brown algal cell wall polysaccharides exploited by the industry for their gelifying properties, are accumulated at the surface of areas subject to high tensile stress in the cell wall. These stresses are generated by either a high internal pressure within the cell (turgor; e.g. when algae are exposed to fresh water), or simply because of the cell shape (curvature of its borders) and the thinness of its cell wall. A set of immunolocalisation data together with measurements of the cell wall stiffness (AFM, expansion properties) support that alginates stiffen cellular areas the most exposed to high tensile stress so that they can resist to mechanical deformation and bursting..
Published in the journal Scientific Reports, 10 September 2019.
Full reference: Rabillé H, Torode T, Tesson B, Le Bail A, Billoud B, Rolland E, Le Panse S, Jam M, Charrier B. Alginates along the filament of the brown alga Ectocarpus help cells cope with stress, Sci Rep, 9:12956 | https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-49427-z, 2019