[MARMAM] New publication on elemental and chemical composition of dolphin enamel and dentine

Carolina Loch carolinaloch at yahoo.com.br
Sat Jan 4 15:03:51 PST 2014

MARMAM subscribers,

are pleased to announce the publication of the following paper in the current
issue of the Journal of Structural Biology:

Elemental and chemical characterization of dolphin
enamel and dentine using X-ray and Raman microanalyzes (Cetacea: Delphinoidea
and Inioidea)

Loch, Michael V. Swain, Sara Fraser, Keith C. Gordon, Jules A. Kieser and
R. Ewan Fordyce 
doi: 10.1016/j.jsb.2013.11.006

185, Issue 1, January 2014, Pages 58–68

Dolphins show increased tooth number and simplified
tooth shape compared to most mammals, together with a simpler ultrastructural
organization and less demanding biomechanical function. However, it is unknown
if these factors are also reflected in the chemical composition of their teeth.
Here, the bulk chemical composition and elemental distribution in enamel and
dentine of extant dolphins were characterized and interpreted using X-ray and
spectroscopy techniques. Teeth of 10 species of Delphinida were analyzed by
WDX, EDX and Raman spectroscopy. For most of the species sampled, the mineral
content was higher in enamel than in dentine, increasing from inner towards
outer enamel. The transition from dentine to enamel was marked by an increase
in concentration of the major components Ca and P, but also in Na and Cl. Mg
decreased from dentine to enamel. Concentrations of Sr and F were often low and
below detection limits, but F peaked at the outer enamel region for some
species. Raman spectroscopy analyzes showed characteristics similar to
carbonated hydroxyapatite, with the strongest peak for the phosphate stretching mode at 960–961 cm−1. Dentine
samples revealed a higher diversity of peaks representative of organic
components and proteins than enamel. The similar distribution pattern and small
variation in average concentration of major and minor elements in dentine and
enamel of dolphins suggest that they are subject to strong physiological
control. A clear trend of the elemental variations for all dolphin species
sampled suggests that the general pattern of tooth chemistry is conserved among
the Mammalia.

Full text is available at:

 Or alternatively, a pdf can be requested at: carolina.loch at otago.ac.nz 
Carolina Loch Silva, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Sir John Walsh Research Institute
Faculty of Dentistry, University of Otago
Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Phone: +(64) 03 479-5667
Research Collaborator
Geology Department, University of Otago
Laboratório de Mamíferos Aquáticos UFSC
Florianópolis, SC - Brasil

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