Impure inactive forms result on the polymerization of glycollic aldehyde and also on the oxidation of erythrite, a tetrahydric alcohol found in some lichens.
The formaldehyde at once undergoes a process of condensation oi- polymerization by the protoplasm of the plastid, while the hydrogen peroxide is said to be decomposed into water and free oxygen by another agency in the cell, of the nature of one of the enzymes of which we shall speak later.
More emphasis is, however, now laid on the action of the plastid in polymerization, while the initial stages are still not definitely ezplaincd.
Fiveand six-membered rings are the most stable and important, the last-named group resulting from the polymerization of many substances; threeand four-membered rings are formed with difficulty, and are easily ruptured; rings containing seven or more members are generally unstable, and are relatively little known.
The globules in the latex are liquid, and the phenomenon of coagulation would seem to consist in the passage of this liquid into solid caoutchouc through the kind of change known as polymerization or condensation, in which a liquid passes into solid without alteration of composition or by condensation with the elimination of the elements of water.