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Mineral Fine Structure of the American Lobster Cuticle

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      Anthropogenic ocean acidification over the twenty-first century and its impact on calcifying organisms.

      Today's surface ocean is saturated with respect to calcium carbonate, but increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are reducing ocean pH and carbonate ion concentrations, and thus the level of calcium carbonate saturation. Experimental evidence suggests that if these trends continue, key marine organisms--such as corals and some plankton--will have difficulty maintaining their external calcium carbonate skeletons. Here we use 13 models of the ocean-carbon cycle to assess calcium carbonate saturation under the IS92a 'business-as-usual' scenario for future emissions of anthropogenic carbon dioxide. In our projections, Southern Ocean surface waters will begin to become undersaturated with respect to aragonite, a metastable form of calcium carbonate, by the year 2050. By 2100, this undersaturation could extend throughout the entire Southern Ocean and into the subarctic Pacific Ocean. When live pteropods were exposed to our predicted level of undersaturation during a two-day shipboard experiment, their aragonite shells showed notable dissolution. Our findings indicate that conditions detrimental to high-latitude ecosystems could develop within decades, not centuries as suggested previously.
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        Phosphate depletion in the western North Atlantic Ocean.

        Surface waters of the subtropical Sargasso Sea contain dissolved inorganic phosphate (DIP) concentrations of 0.2 to 1.0 nanomolar, which are sufficiently low to result in phosphorus control of primary production. The DIP concentrations in this area (which receives high inputs of iron-rich dust from arid regions of North Africa) are one to two orders of magnitude lower than surface levels in the North Pacific (where eolian iron inputs are much lower and water column denitrification is much more substantial). These data indicate a severe relative phosphorus depletion in the Atlantic. We hypothesize that nitrogen versus phosphorus limitation of primary production in the present-day ocean may be closely linked to iron supply through control of dinitrogen (N2) fixation, an iron-intensive metabolic process. Although the oceanic phosphorus inventory may set the upper limit for the total amount of organic matter produced in the ocean over geological time scales, at any instant in geological time, oceanic primary production may fall below this limit because of a persistent insufficient iron supply. By controlling N2 fixation, iron may control not only nitrogen versus phosphorus limitation but also carbon fixation and export stoichiometry and hence biological sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
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          Biological and medical significance of calcium phosphates.

          The inorganic part of hard tissues (bones and teeth) of mammals consists of calcium phosphate, mainly of apatitic structure. Similarly, most undesired calcifications (i.e. those appearing as a result of various diseases) of mammals also contain calcium phosphate. For example, atherosclerosis results in blood-vessel blockage caused by a solid composite of cholesterol with calcium phosphate. Dental caries result in a replacement of less soluble and hard apatite by more soluble and softer calcium hydrogenphosphates. Osteoporosis is a demineralization of bone. Therefore, from a chemical point of view, processes of normal (bone and teeth formation and growth) and pathological (atherosclerosis and dental calculus) calcifications are just an in vivo crystallization of calcium phosphate. Similarly, dental caries and osteoporosis can be considered to be in vivo dissolution of calcium phosphates. On the other hand, because of the chemical similarity with biological calcified tissues, all calcium phosphates are remarkably biocompatible. This property is widely used in medicine for biomaterials that are either entirely made of or coated with calcium phosphate. For example, self-setting bone cements made of calcium phosphates are helpful in bone repair and titanium substitutes covered with a surface layer of calcium phosphates are used for hip-joint endoprostheses and tooth substitutes, to facilitate the growth of bone and thereby raise the mechanical stability. Calcium phosphates have a great biological and medical significance and in this review we give an overview of the current knowledge in this subject.
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            Author and article information

            Journal
            Journal of Shellfish Research
            Journal of Shellfish Research
            National Shellfisheries Association
            0730-8000
            June 2012
            June 2012
            : 31
            : 2
            : 515-526
            10.2983/035.031.0211
            © 2012
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