capsule

Science Dictionary
capsule   (kāp'səl, -sl)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. A dry dehiscent fruit that develops from two or more carpels, as in the poppy and the cottonwood tree.

  2. The sporangium (the hollow spore-producing structure) of mosses and other bryophytes.

  3. The outer layer of viscous polysaccharide or polypeptide slime with which some bacteria cover their cell walls. Capsules provide defense against phagocytes and prevent the bacteria from drying out.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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