Their extreme reduction in form and loss of sexuality may be correlated with the saprophytic habit, the proteids and other organic material required for the growth and reproduction being appropriated ready synthesized, the plant having entirely lost the power of forming them for itself, as evidenced by the absence of chlorophyll.
They are mainly carbohydrates such as starch and sugar, proteids in the form of globulins or albumoses, and in many cases fats and oils, while certain other bodies of similar nutritive value are less widely distributed.
It is not certain either whether the action of the chlorophyll apparatus is confined to the manufacture of carbohydrates or whether it is concerned, and if so how far, with the construction of proteids also.
Proteid Formation.We have seen that it has been suggested that the chlorophyll apparatus may perhaps be concerned in the manufacture of proteids as well as of carbohydrates.
The fate of these inorganiccompounds has not been certainly traced, but they give rise later on to the presence in the plant of various amino acid amides, such as leucin, glycin, asparagin, &c. That these are stages on the way to proteids has been inferred from the fact that when proteids are split up by various means, and especially by the digestive secretions, these nitrogen-containing acids are among the products which result.