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Biogeochemistry of brachiopod intracrystalline molecules

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Geoffrey AbbottORCiD


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Brachiopods contain both proteins and lipids within the biocrystals of their shell. One intracrystalline chromoprotein causes red shell coloration, whereas the other molecules may be involved with biomineralization, may strengthen the biocrystal, or may simply have been inadvertently engulfed by calcite during shell growth. Evidence is presented which suggests that at least some of the breakdown products of indigeneous intracrystalline molecules can be recovered from the biocrystals of fossil brachiopod shells. Investigations of the remains of these intracrystalline molecules in fossils have geological application in fields such as environmental reconstruction, isotopic determinations, taxonomy and the interpretation of colour in extinct organisms.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Curry GB, Cusack M, Walton D, Endo K, Clegg H, Abbott GD, Armstrong H

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Proceedings of The Royal Society of London. Series B. Biological Sciences

Year: 1991

Volume: 333

Issue: 1268

Pages: 359-366

Print publication date: 01/09/1991

ISSN (print): 0080-4649

ISSN (electronic): 1471-2954


DOI: 10.1098/rstb.1991.0085


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