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Heavy-metal staining of fossil organic materials

Posted by Broadlands on 16 Nov 2011 at 15:54 GMT

A minor comment on the TEM study. Arthropod cuticle is made primarily of a chitin-protein complex. As the cuticle in these fossils is unmineralized and has been well-preserved structurally but not chemically, the experimental protocol for the TEM study could have eliminated the heavy metal staining step. Heavy-metals work well to stain proteins for the TEM, but do nothing for the electron-density of polysaccharides like chitin or cellulose.

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