Structural investigations on the mucus from six species of coral


The chemical composition of the mucus from three hard corals (Acropora formosa, Pachyseris speciosa and Fungia fungites) and three soft corals (Sarcophyton sp., Lemnalia sp., and Cespitularia sp.) collected on the Great Barrier Reef (1982–1985) was determined. Significant variation exists in the composition and structure of the six mucus samples, indicating the absence of a common structure for coral mucus. In all cases protein and/or carbohydrate polymers are the major components of the mucus, and lipids are present only in small amounts. The glycose composition varied between species, with fucose (F. fungites and Lemnalia sp.), arabinose (A. formosa), galactose (P. speciosa) and N-acetyl glucosamine (Sarcophyton sp.) being present in high concentrations. With the exception of Sarcophyton sp. and Lemnalia sp., all mucus samples were acidic and contained significant sulphate but no uronic or sialic acids. The amino acid composition of the mucus samples was not unusual, apart from A. formosa, which contained a high percentage of serine and threonine, and F. fungites, which had high levels of glutamic acid present.

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Correspondence to D. Yellowlees.

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Communicated by G. F. Humphrey, Sydney

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Meikle, P., Richards, G.N. & Yellowlees, D. Structural investigations on the mucus from six species of coral. Mar. Biol. 99, 187–193 (1988).

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  • Galactose
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Threonine
  • Sialic Acid
  • Amino Acid Composition