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Mechanical constraints of primary cell wall expansion Ingo Burgert Max-Planck-Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Department of Biomaterials Plant growth and development decisively depend on the ability of cells to enlarge during their differentiation, however, the underlying mechanisms of primary cell wall expansion still remain partly elusive. The primary cell wall consisting of cellulose fibrils, hemicelluloses, pectin, and protein has to be both strong enough to withstand high stresses due to hydrostatic pressure and external loads as well as flexible enough to allow a tremendous expansion of the cell. To shed light on this mechanical paradox an interdisciplinary combination of biomechanical, biochemical, and physiological approaches is required. In this talk the mechanical constraints of cell wall expansion are discussed from a plant biomechanics perspective highlighting the crucial role of cellulose microfibril orientation and fibre and matrix interaction in the course of cell enlargement. Micromechanical tests to determine mechanical properties of primary cell walls of native and genetically modified Arabidopsis hypocotyls are presented.