Organic matrix composition and ultrastructure of eggshell: A comparative study

Panhéleux, M.; Bain, M.; Gautron, J.; Nys, Y.; Solomon, S.E.; Fernández M.S.; Morales, I; Arias J.L.; Hincke, M.


1. The avian eggshell is a biomineralised composite ceramic consisting of calcium carbonate embedded in an organic matrix. Matrix components are supposed to be involved in the control of mineralisation, crystallographic texture and biomechanical properties of eggshell. 2. The structure and eggshell matrix composition of various domesticated bird species were compared to gain insight into the universality of the eggshell mineralisation process. 3. The SDS-PAGE profiles of soluble eggshell matrix were specific within groups of birds (a: laying hen, breeder hen, quail, pheasant and possibly turkey; b: guinea fowl; c: duck and goose) but some of the protein bands were common to all groups. 4. Analogies between species were confirmed by Western blotting using hen protein antibodies. Ovocleidin-17 (OC-17) and ovalbumin were revealed in all species (except quail for OC-17). Lysozyme was present only in hen eggshell. Another egg white protein: ovotransferrin showed a positive signal in hens, turkey and quail. Osteopontin was observed in laying and breeder hens and quail. 5. Different proteoglycans were localised to discrete regions within the eggshell. Dermatan sulphate was observed within the matrix of the calcified shell of all species except quail which contained chondroitin-6-sulfate. Keratan sulphate was observed in mammillary bodies of breeder and laying hen, quail, pheasant and turkey while chondroitin sulphate was also present in guinea fowl and duck. 6. The general structural organisation of the different avian eggshells was similar but specific differences were observed in the ultrastructure of the mammillary layer. Species of the same taxonomic family could be grouped according to their structural analogies: breeder hen, turkey and pheasant resembled that of the domestic fowl. Guinea fowl was unique. Goose and duck were quite similar with large and confluent mammillary bodies. 7. Some matrix components are therefore common to eggshells of various species but more information is needed to relate differences in matrix composition between taxonomic groups with differences in ultrastructure. © 1999 British Poultry Science Ltd.

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Título de la Revista: British Poultry Science
Volumen: 40
Número: 2
Editorial: Taylor & Francis
Fecha de publicación: 1999
Página de inicio: 240
Página final: 252