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I came across a confusing word when I was reading a Scientific American story, “Controversial Spewed Iron Experiment Succeeds as Carbon Sink” (by David Biello). It goes like this:
“One key to the whole experiment's success turns out to be the specific diatoms involved, which use silicon to make their shells and tend to form long strands of cellular slime after their demise that falls quickly to the seafloor.”
I'm wondering what “cellular” means in this context. Does it mean “of (diatom) cells” or “porous”?
Could someone kindly enlighten me on this?
My understanding is that the slime in question is formed of the bodies (the cells) of the dead diatoms. Where does porous come into it? Is it mentioned in a previous sentence?
'Cellular' in this context simply refers to slime of (diatom) cellular origin. The word 'cellular' is not referring to porosity. It appears the author wanted to be clear that the slime is from the cell, and not of some other origin. Perhaps the distinction is necessary, because the author mentions that the cells are dead, and dead cells rarely produce metabolic products, like slime.