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Quartz dissolution by the sponge Chondrosia reniformis (Porifera, Demospongiae)

Nature volume 378, pages 374376 (23 November 1995) | Download Citation

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Abstract

MANY marine organisms etch calcareous substrata1. Indeed sponges, mainly of the genus Cliona, are important factors in the erosion of calcareous coasts2,3. Among terrestrial organisms, only a few lichens are known to penetrate siliceous rocks4,5, an ability unknown in the animal kingdom. The Demospongiae have a siliceous skeleton formed by spicules6 of various shapes and sizes, but several species also incorporate sand grains or foreign spicules7,8. The demosponge Chondrosia reniformis Nardo has no autochtonous spicules but incorporates a wide range of foreign materials in its ectosome9,10. Here we report that quartz particles are strongly etched and made uniform in size, quickly and with sharp selectivity, the hydrated silica (chalcedony and opal) remaining unaltered. The presence of a thick collagenous ectosome11 suggests that ascorbic acid, the reducing agent in proline hydroxylation, might be involved in quartz etching by C. reniformis.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. Istituto di Zoologia dell'Università di Geneva, via Balbi 5,1-16126 Geneva, Italy

    • Giorgio Bavestrello
    • , Attilio Arillo
    • , Carlo Cerrano
    • , Riccardo Cattaneo-Vietti
    •  & Michele Sarà
  2. Istituto di Chimica Biologica deH'Università di Geneva,Viale Benedetto XV, 1-16132 Geneva, Italy

    • Umberto Benatti
    • , Marco Giovine
    •  & Michela Tonetti
  3. Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra dell'Università di Geneva,Sezione Mineralogia e Petrografia, Corso Europa 26,1-16132 Geneva, Italy

    • Luciano Cortesognoi
    •  & Laura Gaggero

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https://doi.org/10.1038/378374a0

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