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Characterisation of carapace composition in developing and adult ostracods (Skogsbergia lerneri) and its potential for biomaterials

Rumney, Benjamin M. ORCID:, Morgan, Siân R., Mosselmans, J. Frederick W., Malik, F. Tegwen, Holden, Simon J., Parker, Andrew R., White, Nick, Lewis, Philip N. ORCID:, Albon, Julie ORCID: and Meek, Keith M. ORCID: 2022. Characterisation of carapace composition in developing and adult ostracods (Skogsbergia lerneri) and its potential for biomaterials. Marine Biology 169 (6) , 78. 10.1007/s00227-022-04047-6

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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.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Optometry and Vision Sciences
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made.
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 0025-3162
Funders: Wellcome, STFC, DSTL
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 7 June 2022
Date of Acceptance: 17 March 2022
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2023 18:17

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