What is the nature of cell-walls in diatoms?
The cell walls of diatoms are called frustules. The cell wall is chiefly composed of cellulose impregnated with glass-like silica. It is composed of two overlapping halves (or theca) that fit together like two parts of a soap box or petri dish. The upper half (lid) is called epitheca and the lower half (case) is called hypotheca. The outer covering possesses very fine markings, pits, pores and ridges. The siliceous frustules of diatoms do not decay easily. They pile up at the bottom of water reservoirs and form big heaps called diatomite or diatomaceous earth. It may extend for several hundred metres in certain areas from where the same can be mined.
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