This article does not cite any sources. (February 2008) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Ergastic substances are non-protoplasm materials found in cells. The living protoplasm of a cell is sometimes called the bioplasm and distinct from the ergastic substances of the cell. The latter are usually organic or inorganic substances that are products of metabolism, and include crystals, oil drops, gums, tannins, resins and other compounds that can aid the organism in defense, maintenance of cellular structure, or just substance storage. Ergastic substances may appear in the protoplasm, in vacuoles, or in the cell wall.
Reserve carbohydrate of plants are the derivatives of the end products of photosynthesis. Cellulose and starch are the main ergastic substances of plant cells. Cellulose is the chief component of the cell wall, and starch occurs as a reserve material in the protoplasm.
Although proteins are the main component of living protoplasm, proteins can occur as inactive, ergastic bodies—in an amorphous or crystalline (or crystalloid) form. A well-known amorphous ergastic protein is gluten.
Fats and oils
- Raphides are a type of elongated crystalline form of calcium oxalate aggregated in bundles within a plant cell. Because of the needle-like form, large numbers in the tissue of, say, a leaf can render the leaf unpalatable to herbivores (see Dieffenbachia and taro).