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Characterisation of carapace composition in developing and adult ostracods (Skogsbergia lerneri) and its potential for biomaterials
Marine Biology, Volume: 169, Issue: 6
Swansea University Author: Tegwen Malik
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The protective carapace of Skogsbergia lerneri, a marine ostracod, is scratch-resistant and transparent. The compositional and structural organisation of the carapace that underlies these properties is unknown. In this study, we aimed to quantify and determine the distribution of chemical elements a...
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The protective carapace of Skogsbergia lerneri, a marine ostracod, is scratch-resistant and transparent. The compositional and structural organisation of the carapace that underlies these properties is unknown. In this study, we aimed to quantify and determine the distribution of chemical elements and chitin within the carapace of adult ostracods, as well as at different stages of ostracod development, to gain insight into its composition. Elemental analyses included X-ray absorption near-edge structure, X-ray fluorescence and X-ray diffraction. Nonlinear microscopy and spectral imaging were performed to determine chitin distribution within the carapace. High levels of calcium (20.3%) and substantial levels of magnesium (1.89%) were identified throughout development. Amorphous calcium carbonate (ACC) was detected in carapaces of all developmental stages, with the polymorph, aragonite, identified in A-1 and adult carapaces. Novel chitin-derived second harmonic generation signals (430/5 nm) were detected. Quantification of relative chitin content within the developing and adult carapaces identified negligible differences in chitin content between developmental stages and adult carapaces, except for the lower chitin contribution in A-2 (66.8 ± 7.6%) compared to A-5 (85.5 ± 10%) (p = 0.03). Skogsbergia lerneri carapace calcium carbonate composition was distinct to other myodocopid ostracods. These calcium polymorphs and ACC are described in other biological transparent materials, and with the consistent chitin distribution throughout S. lerneri development, may imply a biological adaptation to preserve carapace physical properties. Realisation of S. lerneri carapace synthesis and structural organisation will enable exploitation to manufacture biomaterials and biomimetics with huge potential in industrial and military applications.
Ostracod, Skogsbergia lerneri, Development, X-ray fluorescence, Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, X-ray analysis near-edge structure, Nonlinear microscopy, Second harmonic generation, Two-photon excited fluorescence
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
DSTL (Framework Agreement Number DSTL/AGR/R/CBRN/01) and BMR is funded by a Wellcome Trust [204824/Z/16/Z] ISSF3 Consolidator Award. Synchrotron beam time was awarded by STFC Diamond for access to Beamline I18 (SP19081).