By H. D. Kumar, H. N. Singh (auth.)

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AGAR-AGAR A jelly-Jike substance, agar-agar (often called simply agar), is a complex polysaccharide of great economic value. It is extracted in water from certain species of red algae belonging to Gelidium, Graci/aria and other genera whieh produce and store it along with cellulose in their cell walls. The most extensive use of agar is aS'a base for culture media for algae, fungi, bacteria and tissues. It is also used as a stabilizer or emulsifier in food, cosmetics, leather and pharmaceutical industries.

Drew (1955), and Chapman and Chapman (l961) have reviewed the algal life eyeles, introdueing eomplex terminologies. Aeeording to the nuelear eyele a haplont is one in whieh thezYgote is diploid and meiosis REPRODUCTION AND PERENNATION 33 takes place during the germination of the zygote; a diplont is one in which the plant is diploid and the gametes alone are haploid. /~O MEIOSPORES' (N) 0 A\ ZYGOTE (2N) \ \ J GAMETES (NI SYNGAMY Fig. 3-2. Haplobiontic Iife cycles. HAPLONT (BATRACHOSPERM~UM) ~ , CHAN~ ~\) (N) o~ M0N05PORE (N) ~ " ßAMElES 'OCARPOSPORE " (N) "-~;.

Filamentous blue-green algae propagate vegetatively through a specialized process known as hormogone formation. The hormogones, which are short fragments of a trichome, are produeed either as a result of fragmentation, or by the formation of biconeave, intercalary separation discs spaced quite a few cells apart from eaeh other. The vegetative ceIJs Iying between two separation discs eonstitute a hormogone. Devoid of a sheath and endowed with the power of rnovement, the hormogones eonstitute an efficient and quick method of vegetative propagation and dispersal of the species during environmentally favourable growth periods.

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