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The organic and inorganic composition of some cirriped shells


Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 21(2): 119-127
The organic and inorganic composition of some cirriped shells
The protein, chitin, Ca and Mg in the shells of several species of cirripedes [Chthamalus depressus, C. stellatus, Balanus balanoides, B. eburneus, B. balanus, Tetraclita squamosa, Lepas fascicularis, Pollicipes polymerus] were determined and powdered shell material examined by differential thermal analysis. Chthamalus spp., in which laminae of epicuticular matter are present within the shell, show the greatest organic content. When the organic material is separated into its protein and chitin components the latter is present in similar quantities in all species; this reflects a similar quantity of the chitin-protein matrix. Reduction in the protein content of heavily eroded C. depressus seems to be due to the removal of protein by endolithic algae. The Ca/Mg ratio increases from extreme hypobiotic to exposed C. depressus. There is a marked correlation between the Ca/Mg ratio and the organic content; the Mg seems to be largely associated with protein rather than with the calcitic lattice. This receives support from the thermal analyses. Small quantities of quartz were detected by X-ray analysis.

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Accession: 006728841

DOI: 10.1016/0022-0981(76)90033-2



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