Analysis of elemental composition of the eggshell before and after incubation in the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) in Oman

S. N. Al-Bahry, I. Y. Mahmoud, K. Melghit, I. Al-Amri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


To date, there are limited studies on loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) eggshell ultrastructure and its elemental composition. Eggs were collected from turtle nests immediately after oviposition and post hatching. Three eggshell layers were recognized. The outer calcareous layer consists of loose nodular units of different shapes and sizes with loose attachment between the units, resulting in numerous spaces and openings. Each unit consists of CaCO3 crystals in aragonite (99%) and calcite (1%). The middle layer has several strata with numerous openings connecting the calcareous and the inner shell membrane. Crystallites of the middle layer are a mix of amorphous material with aragonite (62%) and calcite (38%). The inner shell membrane has numerous reticular fibers mixed predominantly with halite (NaCl) and small amounts of sylvite. Thermogravimetry analysis of the calcareous showed a low exothermic peak at 425°C, which corresponds to a transitional phase from aragonite to calcite. A high endothermic peak at 814°C corresponds to decomposition of calcite CaCO3 to CaO and CO2. Electron diffraction confirmed the presence of NaCl halite crystal. A significant difference was found in the percentage of elements and crystal configurations in the three layers. This study has value in assessing the emergence success in this endangered species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-460
Number of pages9
JournalMicroscopy and Microanalysis
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011



  • crystals
  • eggshell
  • elemental distribution
  • loggerhead turtle
  • thermogravimetry
  • ultrastructure
  • X-ray diffraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation

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