AskDefine | Define chalaza

Dictionary Definition

chalaza

Noun

1 basal part of a plant ovule opposite the micropyle; where integument and nucellus are joined
2 one of two spiral bands of tissue connecting the egg yolk to the enclosing membrane at either end of the shell [also: chalazae (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

From (chalaza) "hailstone, lump"

Pronunciation

  • /kəˈleɪzə/

Noun

  1. A spiral band which attaches to the yolk of an egg, suspending it in the white
  2. The location where the nucellus attaches to the integuments, opposite the micropyle.

Related terms

Extensive Definition

The chalaza (from Greek - khalaze - meaning "hailstone") is a structure inside animal eggs and plant ovules. It attaches or suspends the yolk or nucellus within the larger structure.

In animals

In animal eggs, the chalaza is composed of one or two spiral bands of tissue that suspend the yolk in the center of the white. It is cloudy and white and if pulled on acts like a spring. The longer the egg ages, the more the tissue eventually breaks down. This is why older eggs have a runny or less pronounced yolk. Also, the chalaza is the agent that makes some of the egg white stick to the yolk when an egg yolk is removed manually.

In plants

In plant ovules, the chalaza is located opposite the micropyle opening of the integuments. It is the tissue where the integuments and nucellus are joined. Nutrients from the plant travel through vascular tissue in the funiculus and outer integument through the chalaza into the nucellus. During the development of the embryo sac inside the ovule, the three cells at the chalazal end become the antipodal cells.

Chalazogamy

In most flowering plants, the pollen tube enters the ovule through the micropyle opening in the integuments for fertilization. In chalazogamous fertilization, the pollen tubes penetrate the ovule through the chalaza rather than the micropyle opening. Chalazogamy was first discovered in monoecious plant species of the Casuarinaceae family, but has since then also been observed in others, for example in pistachio and walnut.
chalaza in Italian: Calaza
chalaza in Polish: Chalaza
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