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Schematic of typical plant cell

Cytorrhysis is the complete collapse of a plant cell's cell wall within plants due to the loss of water through osmosis[1] This follows plasmolysis. Cytorrhysis will cause an increased loss of shape and structure. Usually this results in extreme damage and possible death of the cell.

Although the cell wall is not actually destroyed, the vacuole seems to increase in size and finally collapses, releasing its components into the cytosol. This is because as the cell size is decreasing it would need to increase its surface area. In order to do that vacuole expands and eventually bursts. The plasma membrane seems to be squashed against the cell wall.

Cytorrhysis occurs when the size of the molecules constituting the osmoticum exceeds that of the pores of the cell wall matrix .

It has being filed as a major reason for the depletion of plants in many sub-tropical forests.


  1. ^ Howard, R.J., and Valent, B. (1996). Breaking and entering: Host penetration by the fungal rice blast pathogen Magnaporthe grisea. Annu. Rev. Microbiol. 50, 491.